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The City of Portland, Oregon

Portland Water Bureau

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Sept. 18 Update on the Eagle Creek Fire and the Bull Run Watershed

Eagle Creek Fire Updates Sept 18th

The Eagle Creek Fire is 32 percent contained. Because of very favorable conditions over the weekend, which are anticipated to continue this week, staff at the Water Bureau Emergency Operation Center is standing down.

Cloud cover prevented the gathering of infrared imagery data today. According to data from Sunday, Sept. 17, the fire burned approximately 150 acres inside the Bull Run Management Unit, but not inside the Bull Run drainage area. Current estimates are that less than one percent of the Bull Run Watershed Management Unit has been burned at the northern boundary. The Bull Run reservoirs and water supply infrastructure are not near the areas that are currently estimated to have been burned.

Helicopters continued doing bucket drops of water on Sunday in the far northeast and northwest corners of the management unit, near Oneonta and Bell creeks. Southeasterly changing to southwesterly winds aided firefighting efforts by moving the fire away from the watershed on Sunday. Quite a bit of rain has fallen over the fire since yesterday. 

Showers, heavy at times, are predicted Monday and Tuesday, with another significant front moving over the fire Wednesday. Anticipated heavy rains may cause challenges for those working and living in communities along Columbia River Gorge and Interstate 84 as they recover from the fire.

Throughout this operation, the Water Bureau delivered 100 percent Bull Run water with one brief interruption related to a treatment chemical delivery delay. The bureau continued with its regular drinking water quality monitoring of the Bull Run and did not find any measurable differences since the fire started.

There will be ongoing work by the federal firefighting agencies in and around the watershed over the next few weeks to ensure the fire danger has passed and that fire suppression areas are prepared for winter rains. The Water Bureau will continue to coordinate with its federal partners on access and demobilization activities in the northern portions of the management unit as needed.

On behalf of the bureau, we wish to recognize the heroic efforts of the Type I Incident Management Team that capably managed this fire during its critical phases. We are grateful to our local partners from the U.S. Forest Service, the Oregon Department of Forestry, and the Oregon State Fire Marshall’s Office, for their work in fighting the fire.

The Portland Water Bureau thanks its stakeholders for their flexibility and support as we addressed this rapidly changing event over the last two weeks.

Portland Water Bureau security and resource liaison staff deserve a heartfelt congratulations for providing vital information and access to fire fighters who defended our watershed and key infrastructure.

The Water Bureau does not anticipate frequent updates related to the Eagle Creek Fire.

The Water Blog, along with Facebook and Twitter, will be made available should there be new information in the future.