Fire, Oregon, Washington County

Tuesday, September 15 Fire Update

Banks Fire District Engine 16 heads toward the Powerline Fire on Tuesday, September 8. Photo: Chas Hundley

Here is this morning’s fire update. We’ll continue daily fire updates through Friday, and hopefully be able to resume a more regular publishing schedule if fire activity calms down enough after that.

Wildfires kill 10 in Oregon

Ten people have been confirmed killed in wildfires that raged in Oregon for the past week, according to the Oregon State Medical Examiner. In addition to those confirmed to have been killed, at least 22 people remain missing. Watch for a morning fire update on our website around 10 a.m. today.

City of Banks closes offices due to smoke until Friday

The city of Banks announced Tuesday morning that their offices will be closed through Thursday due to unhealthy wildfire smoke, and will reopen on Friday, September 18 at 9 a.m.

In the interim, those trying to access city services can call 503-324-5112 or contact the city by email or online. City staff will be in the office from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Fog and smoke have combined to give us a lovely smoggy week, with the Portland branch of the national weather advisory issuing a dense fog advisory in place until at least 11 a.m. today, and a dense smoke advisory until at least Wednesday at 12 p.m. Visit for more information and tips on keeping yourself healthy. 

Pike Road Fire (Tillamook County)

As of Monday, the Pike Road Fire, estimated to be at 300 acres, was 35% contained, according to the Oregon Department of Forestry. Coastal rains are expected to help in fighting the fire. 

Powerline Fire

“We still have a brush rig up patrolling the area of the Powerline Fire, they’ll be looking for hot spots near the perimeter of the containment line,” the Gaston Fire District said on Monday. “But now the next big feat for our crews will be to inspect, clean, dry and then return thousands of feet of hose to the respective departments,” the district said.

Chehalem Mountain-Bald Peak Wildfire

On Monday afternoon, Tualatin Valley Fire & Rescue declared the fire burning south of Scholls to be fully contained. “The fire is 100% contained, and most residents have returned home. Though all Level 3 evacuations have been lifted, residents are encouraged to remain vigilant and prepared to leave if conditions change. Firefighters will continue to mop up hot spots throughout the week,” the agency said. 

Forest use updates

Oregon Department of Forestry-managed forests such as the Tillamook and Clatsop State Forests remained closed to the general public. Industrial operations such as logging and other commercial uses reopened Tuesday morning under IFPL 3 limited shutdown restrictions.

Ground those drones

Do you have a drone and want to check out some of the wildfires in the area? Don’t, pleads Doug Grafe, Oregon Department of Forestry Chief of Fire Protection. He’s hoping that his agency can get several aviation vehicles into the skies to aid their firefighting efforts, but if a drone is flying in the area, they have to ground their aircraft.

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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