The Blackburn Fire near The Dalles in Oregon, seems to have worsened this afternoon, Wednesday, August 21. All afternoon I had been doing photography along Highway 30 between Hood River and The Dalles. After driving across the bridge in The Dalles into Washington just about 3:30, I saw dark clouds rising up, and the familiar glow as smoke was carried on the winds that were blowing northwest into the Columbia River Valley on the Oregon side.
Stopping at a rest stop just before Lyall, Washington, I took the first two photographs. As the photograph indicates, smoke indicated the fire was growing. Traveling further into White Salmon, the next two photographs show the view across from Washington into the skies above the area of the Blackburn fire. The final photographs were taken as I away from the river, just before coming to the junction of 141.
Residents along Wells Road were advised this afternoon at 4:00 PM, that the evacuation level had been raised from level 1 to level two. This threat level means, “get ready, get set, and go”. This afternoon, the firelines were jumped on the west side of the fire, making it necessary for firefighters to move back to their contingency areas. Many residents have stayed to help protect their homes, animals, and property. Some relief may come in the form of three National Guard helicopters that arrived in Dallesport this afternoon. The plan now is to attack the fire, at least in part, from the air.
According to reports from the Oregonian this morning, the Blackburn Fire was sparked by lightening on August 16. Three separate fires make up the Government Flats Complex that was burning on the north-facing slopes just 6 miles outside of The Dalles. Reports just in from The Dalles Chronicle indicate that a third home has been destroyed by the fire that has burned over 8,731 acres, that had earlier destroyed two other homes and five outbuildings. Over 700 firefighters are actively fighting all three fires.