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Officials: Fire won’t be out until rain, snow

The Eagle Creek fire will likely keep burning until weather helps put it out, fire team reports state.

Containment, 47 percent at the 48,000-acre fire Friday, hasn’t changed much this week.

Despite the same containment figure, the fire team advises there’s not a significant threat to homes, the highway, or public safety from fire activity.

Containment often refers to the size of fire perimeter that’s been lined and that fire managers are “confident will contain the fire under anticipated conditions.”

As for when the fire will be out, the team responded in a Thursday briefer: “The answer is, not until after fall rains and snows come and it naturally is extinguished. It’s not feasible nor safe to attempt to achieve full suppression with fire crews, given the size and exceptionally rugged terrain. But once again, the minimal fire activity present poses no significant threat to containment.”

A Burned Area Emergency Response (BAER) team did a study of post-fire issues for values like historic buildings and landmarks — and next steps.

“We’re looking at values at risk that would occur by post-fire activities such as debris flows, erosion and other catastrophic events that could reduce the value of historic properties,” said Paul Claeyssens, an archaeologist with the Eagle Creek BAER team.

Discussing Multnomah Falls Lodge, which survived the fire, he said, “It’s an iconic cultural resource, a historic site … we want to look at what types of treatments do we need to do to preserve the integrity of the lodge and the surrounding features associated with that.”

Cool weather has settled over the Northwest, leading to chilly nights and mild afternoons. A few rain showers will likely sprinkle over the Gorge, continuing into Saturday.

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