THE DALLES, Ore. (KOIN) — A wildfire that erupted in the southwest area of The Dalles Tuesday afternoon was “corralled” with a quick response from fire managers with the Oregon Department of Natural Resources.
The Chenowith Rim Fire began around 4:20 p.m. on private land, Forest Service officials said in release. Over the next 3 hours it burned about 50 acres but was knocked down through a response by the DNR’s Fire Boss aircraft.
Officials said the fire burned primarily in steep terrain on US Forest Service lands.
When it erupted, Level 3 “Go” evacuations were issued for people south of W. 13th Street from Irvine to Verdant and the Chenowith Rim Apartments. The latest evacuation information can be found here.
Patrick Osterhoff, who lives at the Chenowith Rim Apartments, opened his front door to a scary site.
“All I seen was smoke, flames. And my heart started racing,” Osterhoff told KOIN 6 News. “It was raging. I mean, the wind was blowing and there were flames I would venture to say 20, 30, 40 feet in the air and it was racing up the hill as quick, just as fast as it could ever go. It was like a freight train.”
He said he ran inside, called 911 and had a neighbor go tell the manager about the fire.
“He no more than got up above and then the sheriff come up and told us we were at Level 3 and leave immediately,” Osterhoff said.
The building manager and maintenance crew knocked on doors to alert people about the evacuation order.
“I grabbed what I could and loaded my trunk and was gone,” he said. “Sleeping bag, pillow, a coat, my necessities and that was it.”
For now, Osterhoof is at the Red Cross evacuation site.
“I ain’t got nowhere else to go.”
The cause of the fire is under investigation. Crews will stay at the Chenowith Rim Fire to mop up and work on the containment line until it is completely suppressed.