Photo courtesy: Carol Moore, a high school teacher in The Dalles.
Photo credit: Donald Verger Photography
ROWENA, OR (KPTV) -
Gusty winds and relatively low humidity levels helped the Rowena Fire grow to 3,374 acres Friday morning, according to spokesman Dave Wells with the Oregon Department of Forestry.
About 740 people's homes were threatened and many were told to pack up and leave immediately as the winds picked up Thursday afternoon and the fire moved southwest.
In the Foley Lakes area, the wind pushed fire back into a neighborhood where evacuation levels had been decreased from 3 to 1.
On the fire lines, firefighters focused on saving homes and outbuildings. At a community meeting in the Dalles Thursday night, an incident commander with the State Fire Marshall's Office confirmed at least one structure has burned, and possibly a second. Both were believed to be outbuildings.
Fifteen people spent Wednesday night in a Red Cross shelter set up at Dry Hollow Elementary School, including Doris Cox and her husband Norman.
"At about 10, my neighbor was pounding on the door saying, 'you have to leave now,'" said Cox. "I was, of course, thinking the fire would come to the house and all the other houses. I was quite upset."
Firefighters were bracing for similar weather conditions Friday, as they went into their morning briefing.
Size: 3372 acres
Percent Contained: 35%
Cause: Under Investigation
Evacuations: Level III- 143 homes, Level I- 597 homes