Cherry Grove, Fire, Hagg Lake

Updates from the Powerline Fire: 50% contained, helicopter suffers mechanical failure

A helicopter made an emergency landing at Hagg Lake after experiencing a mechanical failure on Wednesday, September 9. Photo: WCSO

The Powerline Fire south of Hagg Lake is roughly 50% contained, according to the Gaston Rural Fire District. 

In a series of updates posted throughout the day on their Facebook page, the district kept local residents appraised as conditions shifted throughout the day. 

Notably, the district said there was no change in evacuation orders for the region. Spot fires had jumped existing fire lines earlier Wednesday, maintaining a high level of danger to area homes. No structures have been damaged during the fires. On Tuesday evening, an unrelated car fire on Lee Road was attributed to arson, the Washington County Sheriff’s Office said. The suspect in that case was taken into custody and the car fire quickly controlled. 

Presently, all of Dundee Road, Patton Valley Road, Cascara Drive, Lee Road, and the community of Cherry Grove are under a Level 3 evacuation order, which means to leave immediately due to imminent or current threat; under a Level 2 evacuation order is South Road between Mt. Richmond Road (an earlier scheduled closure slated to begin today on Mt. Richmond Road has been postponed, according to Washington County LUT) and Cherry Grove.

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According to the Forest Grove News Times, seven people in the evacuation area have opted to ignore pleas to leave the area. 

For those impacted by a wildfire, an evacuation center is located at Mountain Side High School, located at 12500 SW 175th Avenue in Beaverton.

Those with large animals who need a place to stay due to wildfire evacuations can bring them to the Washington County fairgrounds in Hillsboro. The Washington County Sheriff’s Office posse can care for them overnight if owners are unable to stay with them, but owners must provide daily care. Camping and RV sites are also available. The county asked that those needing this service call ahead to allow for preparations to be made at 503-314-3433

“Please be patient, we are working as hard as we can to get people back to their homes. This is still a dangerous incident however,” the district said. 

According to the Gaston Rural Fire District, southwestern edge of the fire continued to present challenges to crews fighting the fire.

A helicopter that was aiding firefighting efforts on Wednesday afternoon suffered a mechanical failure and made an emergency landing at Hagg Lake, according to the Washington County Sheriff’s Office; the pilot was uninjured and landed successfully on the beach near Boat Ramp C. 

And just after 4:15 p.m., the district said that two single engine seaplane-type bombers were on the way to assist, capable of dropping 600 gallons per trip and able to refill from Hagg Lake itself. 

A Facebook group established to help people connect with resources from their neighbors has been established here

Tis article has been updated with new evacuation location information.

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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