The Indian Creek Fire and Eagle Creek Fire are burning in the Columbia River Gorge. Smoke has made it difficult to discern the exact location of the fire. The Water Bureau is working with federal and state agencies to determine the proximity of the Indian Creek Fire to the boundary of the Bull Run Watershed, the primary drinking water supply for the Portland-metro area. At this time, the fire is not near the drinking water reservoirs or water supply infrastructure. Water from the Bull Run continues to be safe to drink.
The Portland Water Bureau has been working closely with the agencies in charge of fighting these fires since the start of the Indian Creek Fire in early July. They include the U.S. Forest Service, the Oregon Department of Forestry, and local fire departments. The Portland Water Bureau is regularly providing information to the joint fire command to fully support management of the fires.
Yesterday, Governor Kate Brown briefed Mayor Ted Wheeler and Commissioner Nick Fish on the status of the fires. Portland Water Bureau Director Michael Stuhr stated, “I am thankful for the close working relationship with our partner government agencies.”
As a precautionary measure, the Water Bureau has postponed all non-critical work in the watershed to minimize risk to staff and property. Ash is not currently impacting water quality and has not been a problem during past fires near the watershed. The Water Bureau will continue to monitor water quality on a daily basis.
If the need arises to switch to the Columbia South Shore Well Field, this high-quality secondary water supply is ready for activation.