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Oregon-Northwest

Fire near Columbia Gorge burns 15 acres, prompts Level 1 evacuation notice

Rowena Fire ODF 628
Oregon Dept. of Forestry
Wildfire broke out Sunday near the Columbia Gorge town of Rowena

U.S. Hwy. 30 was closed west of The Dalles for a time

ROWENA, Ore. (KTVZ) -- A wildfire that broke out Sunday afternoon near the Columbia River Gorge town of Rowena prompted a Level 1 pre-evacuation notice and closed a highway but was 40 percent contained by evening, officials said.

The Rowena Fire was reported in the early afternoon, burning in grass, scrub oak and timber near the Wasco County community, according to Christie Shaw, public information officer for the Oregon Department of Forestry's Central Oregon District.

The fire burned about 15 acres in steep, rugged terrain near the scar for a 2014 wildfire before its spread was stopped, Shaw said.

The Wasco County Sheriff's Office issued a Level 1 (Get Ready) pre-evacuation notice as a precaution. Part of U.S. Highway 30 six miles west of The Dalles also was closed for a time but reopened by Sunday evening, ODOT reported.

Shaw said the cause of the fire is under investigation.

Mid-Columbia Fire and Rescue, ODF and the U.S. Forest Service Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area worked in unified command to fight the blaze. Others involved included engines from the Mosier and Hood River fire departments, Shaw said.

Two single-engine air tankers (SEATs) from the Washington Department of Natural Resources and a federal Type 1 helicopter also helped check the fire's spread as crews on the ground dug hand line and wet fuel on the fire's perimeter.

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Barney Lerten

Barney is the digital content director for NewsChannel 21. Learn more about Barney here.

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