Camp Creek Fire Continues to Burn
By Ty Walker
The Camp Creek Fire burning in the Mount Hood National Forest has forced the temporary closure of the Sandy Ridge Trail Recreation Area and Barlow Wayside Park. The two popular local parks will remain closed until further notice.
For the safety of firefighters and the public, the Bureau of Land Management and Clackamas County have closed the areas due to excessive smoke and to accommodate firefighting operations in the area.
Firefighters have contained 62 percent of the Camp Creek Fire as of Sept. 20. Sparked by lightning Aug. 24, the wildfire has grown to 2,055 acres in the Bull Run Watershed northeast of Sandy.
It is the largest fire in the Bull Run Watershed in decades. The watershed is a protected area that serves as Portland’s primary drinking water source.
Portland Water Bureau officials said the water is safe to drink. There were no restrictions in place at the time The Mountain Times went to press.
The local park closures include the parking lots and trail systems, as the area is needed to stage wildland firefighting resources and equipment.
“As with any wildland fire, our highest priority is firefighter and public safety,” Cascades Field Manager Amanda Hoffman said. ”Closing the Sandy Ridge Recreation Site is a necessary step to protect recreationists and firefighters while there is an active fire in the area.”
The Sandy Ridge Trail Recreation Site is 11 miles east of Sandy on U.S. Highway 26. The site includes 17 miles of single-track mountain bike trails.
The Barlow Wayside Park has 1.5 miles of hiking trails and is located adjacent to the Sandy Ridge Trails.
Hoodland Fire District firefighters have worked as water tenders at the Camp Creek Fire site, joining the multi-agency team led by the National Forest Service. They circulate around the fire site supplying water to all the tanks.
Hoodland Fire Division Chief Brian Henrichs has been pulling regular shifts at Camp Creek.
“I feel pretty comfortable with where it’s at right now,” he said last week. “On first attack, the Forest Service did a really good job. They came at it with a lot of resources really quickly.”
Resources deployed to the site include 395 firefighters, 13 engines, 5 crews, 6 water tenders, 4 heavy equipment, 3 helicopters and 2 scooper aircrafts.
As of Sept. 20, there has been little to no growth of the Camp Creek fire during the last week, as firefighters have been engaged in suppression activities to hold the fire within the existing footprint. The fire is burning in heavy fuels that include deep duff, decayed logs, and timber litter under a dense canopy.
Firefighters continue to mop up the fireline to remove heat and minimize the likelihood of the fire burning into unburned areas. They are hauling away vegetation debris created from fireline preparation.
Along contained portions of the fire, firefighters patrol the fireline to check for and extinguish any hotspots. They’re removing excess hose and other equipment that is no longer needed.
Cooler weather conditions on the way are expected to dampen fire activity, slowing the growth of fire.
For updates and information on the Camp Creek Fire, see the website https://inciweb.nwcg.gov/incident-information/ormhf-camp-creek-fire or the facebook page https://www.facebook.com/campcreekfire/.