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Fire on Wash. side of Columbia River tops 500 acres, destroys structures; fireworks may have started coast fire

A brush fire burning near Underwood, Wash. in southeast Skamania County
Anthony Macuk, KGW
A brush fire burning near Underwood, Wash. in southeast Skamania County

(Update: Gorge fire tops 500 acres; coast evacuations canceled, Hwy. 101 closed)

UNDERWOOD, Wash. (KTVZ) — The Tunnel 5 Fire that broke out Sunday in timber and brush near the small town of Underwood in southeast Skamania County, Washington, grew to 533 acres overnight and has destroyed several structures, officials said.

KGW reported that Level 3 (Go Now) evacuation orders in a two-mile radius around the fire (see evacuation orders map) remained in place Monday, fire officials said. On Sunday, authorities said the fire was threatening about 100 structures and had already destroyed several. The origin of the fire is under investigation.

The fire, which started Sunday morning around 11:20 a.m. grew quickly due to extreme terrain and hot, windy conditions. It is burning across the Columbia River from Hood River in Oregon.

The fire mostly stayed within the perimeter set by firefighters Sunday night, but did experience moderate growth on the west, according to the Southeast Washington Incident Management Team 1 (SEWAIMT).

Meanwhile, KPTV reported that Lincoln County has canceled evacuations after firefighters controlled a fire along Highway 101 on Sunday afternoon, according to Lincoln County Oregon Emergency Management on Facebook.

After the evacuations were ended, the Lincoln County Sheriff’s Office reminded people they can sign up for emergency alerts on the county website here.

Shortly after 6 p.m., they posted an update to their Facebook page telling community members they were safe to return home. Both directions on Hwy 101 reopened shortly before 8 p.m.

Central Oregon Coast Fire & Rescue says the cause of the fire remains under investigation, but Deputy State Fire Marshal Shannon Miller did recover remnants of firework mortars near the seat of the fire.

Article Topic Follows: Fire Alert

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