PORTLAND – High autumn winds were contributing to the fire dangers in the Northwest as officials ordered a Red Flag Warning for areas around Portland and Vancouver.
Combined with dry conditions and low humidity, the danger for fires to ignite and spread was highest on exposed ridges, especially in the Columbia Gorge. Winds there were expected to top around 50 mph.
“Because of the wind conditions, it can take a very small insignificant fire and whip it into something much bigger,” ," explained Joseph Troncoso with Portland Fire & Rescue.
The Portland fire marshal issued a total burn ban. Only charcoal and propane gas cooking grills are allowed.
Firefighters were called to one such brush fire Wednesday morning near Heron Lakes, where a tree was blown onto a power line. No injuries were reported and crews quickly got it under control.
In Gaston, Ore. Wednesday, a brush fire that was likely caused by a discarded cigarette butt spread along SW Spring Hill Rd. before firefighters arrived and doused it.