Highway 97 south of Biggs Junction was closed Tuesday afternoon as crews battled a grass fire that ignited in behind a motel and raced south.
Espana Coles, owner of Three Rivers Inn, said someone heard a "pop" and suddenly there was a fire on the steep slope behind the motel. Guests at the motel were temporarily evacuated, as was Coles' little dog, "Ike."
No evacuation notices had been issued as of 8:30 p.m., and all residents in the path of the fire are aware of the danger, according to the Sherman County Sherrif's office.
Motorists should avoid the area, and are being redirected to Highway 197 in The Dalles, according to the Oregon Department of Transportation.
Although upset by the fire, the first she has had threaten the hotel in her 16 years as owner, Coles was even more upset about the biting mix of dust and sand the wind was picking up from a large construction area just west of the motel. "We live with this," she said of the clouds of dust and sand blowing over her hotel. "We call, and call but nobody is taking care of this."
The fire, however, brought plenty of willing firefighters to assist, as crews from Sherman, Klickitat and Wasco counties responded.
October 2, 2018 8:45 p.m. read more..