Clatsop County, News, wildfire

Fishhawk Loop Fire grows to 120 acres

Monday October 17 update: The Oregon Department of Forestry said that the fire remained at 120 acres and was now 50% continued. Crews expect to move into the mop-up phase today.

Original:

A fire burning in the Clatsop State Forest has been named the Fishhawk Loop Fire, the Oregon Department of Forestry said. 

Since it was discovered Friday evening, the fire has grown to an estimated 120 acres in Clatsop County near the Fishhawk Lake community that straddles the Columbia and Clatsop County line. The area is about 30 minutes northwest of Vernonia


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The wildfire is 25% contained, according to ODF estimates. 

“There continues to be no threat to the Fishhawk Lake Community nor surrounding homes or structures,” the Mist-Birkenfeld Rural Fire Protection District said Sunday morning in a social media post

The Oregon Department of Forestry said Fishhawk Loop was closed to allow for firefighting operations. ODF crews, Mist-Birkenfeld RFPD firefighters, and hand crews from South Fork Forest Camp in the Tillamook State Forest were on-scene Sunday, Mist-Birkenfeld said. 

According to the ODF, about 79 personnel were engaged in firefighting efforts with helicopter support possibly pulling water from Fishhawk Lake.

“Night shift operations were able to hold the fire in its footprint with no exponential growth and only slight humidity recovery,” the state agency said. 

“A good reminder to all that we are still in burn season, and burn piles and burn barrels are still banned,” Mist-Birkenfeld RFPD said. The district also recommended against boat usage on the dam side of the lake until further notice. 

ODF’s Astoria District remains in fire season, with public use restrictions listed at moderate

The fire was first reported Friday evening as a brush fire off Greasy Spoon Road northwest of Fishhawk Lake in the Clatsop State Forest, according to Mist-Birkenfeld RFPD. The district later said the ignition point of the fire appeared to be a large slash pile located on Fishhawk Loop Road, while noting the cause of the fire had yet to be determined. 

At 8:12 p.m. Friday, Mist-Birkenfeld RFPD said it had grown to two acres on steep terrain, and that numerous surrounding fire agencies were sending resources to aid them. 

By 12:30 a.m. Saturday, the fire spread into surrounding standing timber and grew to 15 acres, then 35, and then 80 acres by Saturday morning. 

Other agencies who have assisted include the Vernonia Rural Fire Protection District, Clatskanie Rural Fire Protection District, Scappoose Fire District, Columbia River Fire & Rescue, and Westport Fire & Rescue.

Chas Hundley is the editor of the Banks Post and sister news publications the Gales Creek Journal and the Salmonberry Magazine. He grew up in Gales Creek and has a cat.

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