Fire, Oregon, Washington County

Wednesday, September 16 Fire Update

Forest Grove Fire & Rescue clean hoses used to fight the Powerline Fire and the Fern Hill Road Fire on Tuesday, September 15. Photo: Chas Hundley

Wednesday’s fire update on regional fires and recovery and cleanup efforts.

Displaced by fires? Here’s some tips on making sure you receive your ballot

It may not be the first thing on someone’s mind when they’re displaced by a wildfire, but for those wondering how voting will be impacted by the loss of thousands of homes in Oregon, the Oregon Secretary of State has put together a resource site for those looking for more information here

“The wildfires have been hugely impactful in Oregon, but we are fortunate to have much flexibility built into our vote by mail system,” a spokesperson told this newspaper in an email. “Voters can maintain their same residence even when displaced or when it is tragically lost and simply update their mailing address for where they want their ballot sent (update registration online at or by paper voter registration card returned to their county elections office). We are encouraging people with concerns to contact their county clerk to discuss their available options that best suit their specific circumstances.”

Powerline Fire

While the Powerline Fire is considered contained, the cleanup continues. According to Matt Johnston, a spokesperson for Forest Grove Fire & Rescue spokesperson, thousands of feet of hose from various fire agencies has been split up among several fire agencies and is being cleaned from the Powerline and other area wildfires. Patrols from Gaston Rural Fire District continue to keep an eye out on the burned area between Hagg Lake and Cherry Grove. 

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Pike Road Fire

According to the Oregon Department of Forestry, the 300-acre Pike Road Fire in Tillamook County is at 35% containment as of Tuesday evening. 

Echo Mountain Complex Fire

The 2,552 acre Echo Mountain Complex Fire near Lincoln City is at 33% containment as of Tuesday, the Oregon Department of Forestry said. “Highway 18 and many of its arteries remain closed to the public. There is a lot of work occurring along these roads, including hazard tree felling and utility rehabilitation.  These activities are necessary to provide for public safety when access is allowed again,” the agency said.

Chehalem Mountain-Bald Peak Fire

Investigators with Tualatin Valley Fire & Rescue have determined that the Chehalem Mountain – Bald Peak Fire was caused by a campfire that was not extinguished properly on private property near the 20000 block of Neugebauer Road.  

“As a result of dry fuels, low humidity, high winds as well as steep and rugged terrain, the fire spread very quickly and proved very challenging to fight,” TVF&R said in a report. 

According to the fire agency, the fire impacted about 875 acres, though the area that crews worked in to provide fire protection, suppression and patrols is 1,555 acres. The fire “jumped” over some areas, leaving stretches of unburned areas during the  fire. Level 2 evacuations remain in place in case a spot fire flares up from the still-smoldering wildfire. 

No homes were lost in the fire, though three barns were burned.

Clackamas County Wildfires

A briefing was held at 3 p.m. on Tuesday to update the public on the Clackamas County wildfires; a video and transcript of the event can be found here

Fire danger keeps forests closed

Fire danger in the region remains extreme; the Oregon Department of Forestry said that the earliest ODF managed forests could open to the general public is Thursday, but that they would remain closed until fire danger drops to “High”

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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