In less than 24-hours, the Mosier Creek Fire has burned nearly 800 acres, destroyed four structures and endangered nearly 300 more, and caused roughly 900 people to be evacuated.
The fire was first reported at 4:28 p.m. on Aug. 12.
July Maus was driving home from work around 4:20 p.m. when she noticed smoke roughly 500 yards below her family’s home on Caroll Road.
“I got there and screamed at everybody to get into the car,” said Maus, who lived on Caroll Road with her brother, his wife, her parents, her 88-year-old grandmother, and the family’s seven dogs. Family members were able to collect their birth certificates and the dogs, and “that was all we had time for,” said Maus. “We were out of there in under four minutes”
By 10 p.m. that same day, it had grown to 500 acres. As of 1:15 p.m. on Aug. 13, crews used infrared data to determine that the fire was 791 acres, according to Lt. Rich Tyler of the Oregon State Fire Management Office.
The Maus family is currently staying at a friend’s house, but they went back up to see their property on Aug. 13. “We just needed to see it for ourselves,” said Maus. Her brother lost his house and pretty much everything was destroyed, she said. A friend set up a GoFundMe for the family (https://www.gofundme.com/f/maus-family-support?utm_source=instagram&utm_campaign=p_cf+share-flow-1&utm_medium=social) and they’re working out what to do next.
“We just have an amazing support system,”said Maus, “We’ve just been really well taken care of by our friends and our congregation … so it’s been really encouraging.”
As of 2:30 p.m. on Aug. 13, the fire was 75 percent lined, but overall containment was “all depending on what happens with the winds today.”
The Oregon State Fire Management Office and the Oregon Department of Forestry will officially take unified command of the incident at 6 p.m. tonight.
Investigators have determined that the fire was human-caused, but the precise cause of the fire is still under investigation.
The Wasco County Sheriff’s Office has issued Level 3, GO (Evacuate) Evacuation notices to all of Paradise Ridge Place Road, and everyone West of State Road. from Evergreen Terrace to Dry Creek Road, and Level 2, GET READY Evacuation Notices to everyone east of State Road, from Evergreen Terrace to Dry Creek Road.
The Shilo Inn in The Dalles, located at 3223 Bret Clodfelter Way, is serving as a Red Cross shelter for evacuees.
Gov. Kate Brown has declared the Mosier Creek Fire a Conflagration, clearing the way for the State Fire Marshal to mobilize firefighters and equipment to assist local resources battling the fire.
The Office of State Marshal’s Blue Incident Management Team has been mobilized. Eight structural task forces from Clackamas, Washington, Marion, Yamhill, Deschutes, Columbia, Polk/Lincoln, and Multnomah counties, and personnel from the OSFM, are arriving this morning and this afternoon at staggered intervals using COVID-19 mitigation measures at the staging area in The Dalles. Crews will be working to protect threatened structures.
A COVID Module assigned to the team, consisting of a Health Liaison and two Responders certified as EMT or higher, will be at the incident to ensure COVID-19 mitigation measures are in place to ensure the safety of all personnel. Wasco County Public Health officials also were present at the incident in-briefing.