The dramatic photos and tales of communities upended by the Eagle Creek fire have been heart rending for all those who work with and live in the Columbia Gorge. We have a long journey ahead, but the Gorge is a resilient place. Affected residents are returning to their homes, wild areas will rebound, and Friends of the Columbia Gorge will be working harder than ever to ensure that community voices and opinions are taken into account when the debates and discussions on next steps for the Gorge begin.To help first responders in fighting the fire and assisting those evacuating it's crucial that members of the public stay out of the Gorge at this point. For the most up-to-date information please consult the Forest Service's incident response page at: https://inciweb.nwcg.gov/incident/5584. You can also track developments on Friends' Facebook page and the Eagle Creek and Indian Creek Fires 2017 Facebook page.
Eagle Creek Fire: What Can I Do to Help?
VolunteerFuture Stewardship Opportunities: Friends and our partners will be organizing stewardship work parties after the fire damage can be assessed. If you are interested in volunteering, please register here. You’ll receive information when we are able to provide it.
The Gorge communities have been devastated by the fire and they need our support. These communities help make the Gorge a wonderful place. Visit the affected communities and thank the merchants and businesses for their perseverance and resilience during these past few weeks. Executive Director Kevin Gorman: It's Time to Reconnect With the Gorge
Cascade Locks Strong: Businesses in Cascade Locks, OR have been especially hit hard by the fire and its associated evacuations and road closures. Through this business coalition's website, buy a gift certificates and make a commitment to come support Gorge communities as they recover from the losses incurred due to the Eagle Creek fire.
Cascade Red Cross: The local Red Cross is maintaining evacuation centers for displaced Gorge residents in Gresham, OR and Stevenson, WA. Consider supporting this local chapter with a gift.
Friends of the Columbia Gorge: Consider investing in long-term stewardship efforts by becoming a member of Friends of the Columbia Gorge. Before a single sapling can be planted or any trails can be rebuilt, plans for restoration and future recreation need to be created, debated and finally implemented. Friends is the only nonprofit organization dedicated entirely to ensuring that the beautiful and wild Columbia Gorge remains a place apart, an unspoiled treasure for generations to come. What gets decided in the next year or two will affect the Gorge for decades. Join us and have a voice in that decision making.
Gorge First Responders: Honor the local heroes for their tireless fire-fighting efforts with a donation on this gofundme site organized by business member Thunder Island Brewery. Money collected will be evenly divided amongst the local fire departments in Carson, Cascade Locks, North Bonneville, Skamania, Stevenson, and Washougal.
Hood River County Sheriff and Search and Rescue: Immediately following the rescue of 153 hikers from Eagle Creek, Friends of the Columbia Gorge launched a social media fundraising campaign to support these heroes. We raised over $35,000 in less than a week! A memorial fund has since been created in honor of a recently deceased sheriff deputy. The Hood River County Mike Anderson Search and Rescue Fund will directly support the county’s search and rescue efforts. Donations can be made at any U.S. Bank branch or can be delivered or mailed to: 601 State Street, Hood River, OR 97031.
Skamania County: The County is still fighting the Archer Mountain fire and supporting the Stevenson Red Cross evacuation efforts and is asking for monetary donations. Contact Sarah Slack at Skamania County Community Events: 509-427-3980.
The National Forest Foundation Fund: The US Forest Service’s official non-profit organization, created a fund to support on-the-ground recovery and restoration efforts from the effects of the Eagle Creek fire. Donate here.
The following 16 organizations are hugely influential in making the area the recreational gem we love. From protecting and enhancing the landscapes and trails of the Gorge to volunteering as first responders when people are in need of help, read this blog from local author Laura O. Foster.
Eagle Creek Fire General FAQ
What can be done immediately on the policy front?
Ensuring any and all federal and state resources are available for all public agencies working to fight, contain and aid communities in the Gorge threatened by the Eagle Creek Fire is critical right now.
What does this mean for the future of Gorge recreation?
Right now our primary concern is the safety of those in Gorge communities threatened by this devastating fire and those on the front lines working to fight the fire and aid those in need. The time to discuss how to rebuild and create policy solutions to prevent future wildfires and better manage the Gorge will come later, after the fire has been contained and all are safe.