Living With Fire

Building long-term resilience for the Columbia Gorge

Living With Fire
July 10, 2018: After being severely burned in the 2017 Eagle Creek fire, the area around Upper McCord Creek Falls shows signs of recovery. (photographer: Miranda Mendoza)
The 2107 wildfire season was one of the worst in recent Pacific Northwest history. In Oregon alone, over 1,000 fires were recorded—including the 2017 Eagle Creek fire in the Columbia Gorge. The Eagle Creek fire had a dramatic impact on the Gorge, burning over 48,000 acres of forest and shuttering miles of beloved trails and state landmarks. It also inspired a remarkable public outpouring of support for protecting and stewarding the Gorge.
 
Shortly after the fire’s start, Friends of the Columbia Gorge launched a special initiative to assist community partners, educate the public and advocate for the policies and programs needed to rebuild trails and aid the forest’s natural regeneration. Many of our Eagle Creek response programs, in turn, have drawn and built upon Friends' efforts to protect and enhance the outstanding resources and communities of the Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area over the past three decades.
 
According to numerous studies, the Northwest will see increasingly drier summers in future decades due to climate change. In 2018, the Gorge has seen several blazes with the Substation and South Valley fires east of The Dalles combining to burn over 90,000 acres in a matter of days. A smaller fire at Memaloose, near Mosier on the Oregon side of the Gorge, threatened many residents' homes.
 
The Gorge is an interconnected place, where trails and recreation intersect with communities and the wilderness. It is also a resilient place. And building on the efforts launched in the aftermath of the Eagle Creek fire, Friends will continue to advance the programs and policies needed to strengthen long-term resilience and steward the Gorge in an age of increased wildfire danger.
 

Living With Fire Resources


Stepping Up for Land Stewardship

Stepping Up for Land Stewardship

Friends and partners have created a public lands stewardship program to stop the spread of invasive plants as hikers return to trails.

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Working to Stop the Walden Clearcut Bill

Working to Stop the Walden Clearcut Bill

Friends launched an advocacy campaign to stop the Walden clearcut bill and other pending proposals that might weaken current Gorge protections.

Learn How You Can Help
Educating Hikers on the Trails

Educating Hikers on the Trails

Friends and partners have expanded a program placing friendly volunteers at popular trailheads in the Gorge and Mt. Hood areas.

Learn How You Can Help
Rethinking Trails and Transportation

Rethinking Trails and Transportation

Since the fire, Friends and partners have explored new approaches to reduce congestion and help local communities.

Learn About Gorge Towns to Trails
After the Smoke Clears Forums

After the Smoke Clears Forums

Watch videos of presentations by fire ecologists at community educational forums about the effect of wildfires on forest ecosystems.

View Videos
Fire Articles and Analysis

Fire Articles and Analysis

View an archive of all fire-related news and analysis generated by Friends since the outbreak of the Eagle Creek fire.

Read More
Available Gorge Hikes

Available Gorge Hikes

With many areas of the Gorge closed to the public, we offer an up-to-date list of open trails and recreation areas.

View List
Fire Response and Recovery Initiative

Fire Response and Recovery Initiative

Friends received an increase in donations after the fire. Here's how we are using the public's fire-related gifts.

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Caretakers of the Gorge

Caretakers of the Gorge

In collaboration with Swanson Studio, a portrait and interview series of people representing a cross-section of Gorge resilience.

View Profiles
Living With Fire Community Forums

Living With Fire Community Forums

Friends hosted special presentations in Hood River and Portland around the first anniversary of the 2017 Eagle Creek fire.

Learn More and Attend