Firefighters Attempt to Contain Fire in Columbia River Gorge

More residents in Oregon’s Columbia River Gorge were allowed to return to their homes Thursday after firefighters worked to contain the Rowena Fire, which had burned 4 square miles and was zero-percent contained, reports USA Today (

The Oregon State Fire Marshal’s Office said just 75 homes remain evacuated, down from 275 to 300 homes. Homeowners in the Foley Lakes, Division St. Development, Murray’s Addition and Chenowith Loop W. neighborhoods were allowed to return to their homes, but remain on a Level 1 evacuation notice. That means homeowners must be ready to go at a moment’s notice.

Fire containment remained at zero percent, but crews have managed to make a bulldozer line at the top of the ridge to stop the flames from advancing farther south. Six hundred structures are threatened in some way by the fire. Firefighters are trying to clear brush and combustibles from a 75-foot area around each home so nothing burns.

The Red Cross says fifteen people stayed the night at the emergency shelter at Dry Hollow Elementary School in The Dalles. Catherine Berry didn’t know about the fire at all Wednesday, until her neighbor started banging on her door last night.