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36 Pit Fire has spread south of clackamas river and thus far 7 homes have been evacuated. Additionally the Silver Fox RV park has been evacuated as well as a few local camp grounds. Officials state that the fire is zero percent contained as of noon on Monday (September 15th, 2014). The latest reports put the fire at roughly 2,800 acres and expanding rapidly at this time. A special task force will be taking control of firefighting operations at 1700, today (5:00 pm PST 09-15-2014).
17:00 09/15/2014 Update
Ground crew firefighter injured by falling tree at Silver Fox RV Park. Reported broken leg, AMR Ambulance en route. Fall Creek level 3 evacuations in progress. Source: Estacada Fire Dept.
16:55 09/15/2014 Update
Fall Creek Road and Michael Road (east of Estacada) under level 3 evacuation order at this time. Source: Estacada Fire Dept.
16:50 09/15/2014 Update
Joe Schwab, Estacada Fire Dept: “There is now a 20 acre spot fire in the area of Tumula, Fall Creek, Divers. This fire is a threat to structures. There are Level 2 evacuations on Divers east up Tumala and Level 3 on Fall Creek from Divers all the way up. Command is there now. A task force and EFD units are there now.”
126 homes under level 2 evacuation orders at this time.
Video of DOT Crew Clearing Landslides off Highway 224 36 Pit Fire
Fire as of Monday Morning Aerial View:
As of Monday morning fire officials confirm that the fire has spread to over 2,300 acres and is still rapidly growing.
Photo Gallery: 36 Pit Fire Clackamas County, Oregon
Summary of the “Pit 36 Fire” As Of 10:00 September, 15th 2014 (Clackamas County, Oregon)
How The Fire Started:
At approximately 1500 (3pm Pacific Standard Time) on September a wildfire broke out in rural Clackamas County, Oregon roughly ten miles east of Estacada in the steep canyon within which the Clackamas River flows. The steep terrain, high temperatures, east winds and late-season dry conditions led to the fire spreading rapidly, despite the swift and valiant action of local fire crews. It appears likely that a group of individuals that were target shooting have likely started the blaze however shooting in and of itself does not pose a fire risk. As such, it seems likely that a prohibited activity such as throwing tossing away cigarette butts, an illegal camp fire or incendiary “tracer” type ammunition was happening. Law enforcement and fire officials have stated that an “investigation is underway” but have not released further details at this time. Although a news crew was witnessed heading to the scene at 1700 (5:00pm) on 09-13-2014 most local news agencies were slow to pick up the story.
36 Pit Fire (Estacada, Oregon): Wildfire Grows 10x Over Saturday Night
The mountainous terrain made access by fire crews slow and hazardous and also allowed the flames to swiftly burn up the steep hill above the rock pit. Initial news reports estimated the blaze to be roughly 30 acres in size although in reality the brisk east winds were quickly pushing the fire onward. As a longtime Clackamas County resident it quickly became clear that the fire was actually much larger than reports as Emergency band scanners were reporting flames over a mile away as the crow flies at a truck weighing station. The official reports soon followed and by noon Sunday the Pit 36 Fire had officially eclipses 1,000 acres engulfed. Fire crews had stated that as of Sunday the forest fire was “zero percent contained” and local campgrounds were closed and the Silver Fox RV Park was promptly evacuated. Residents of Estacada, Beavercreek, Eagle Creek awoke to thick clouds of smoke. Some residents of Estacada reported ash falling like snow.
Air Quality For Clackamas County, Oregon
Areas around Clackamas County, Oregon have been placed under an air quality advisory for “Fire Weather Warning” with air quality ranging from “moderate” to “unhealthy”. The National Weather Service has issued a red flag warning for the region with “areas of smoke” listed through Monday. Winds are expected to shift to southwest overnight which should offer some relief from smoke in the communities of Molalla, Sandy, Eagle Creek, George, and Oregon City. At times, smoke is predicted to reduce visibility to as little as a few miles depending on location. Areas closest to the Pit 36 fire are expected to see the biggest negative impact in air quality.