Governor Kate Brown has declared a statewide fire emergency as a deadly wildfire continues to move across 80 miles of the Columbia River Gorge and beyond. As of Thursday night the Substation fire near the Dalles has been declared the number one in the U.S. with over 50,000 acres burned and sustained winds making the blaze difficult to control. The Oregon National Guard has ben activated to assist in the ongoing firefighting efforts.
Homes in the area have been evacuated and authorities said the fire has claimed one man, a tractor operator who was trying to create a fire break to hold back the flames of a neighbor’s property in Wasco County.
The fire started at an electrical converter station near the Dalles and, while officials have not confirmed the cause of the fire, arson is being looked at as a possibility.
Two wolves were spotted by Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife cameras in Mt. Hood National Forest earlier this month, marking the first time multiple wolves have been confirmed in the northern portion of the Cascades in Oregon since they were reintroduced to the state in the 2000s.
The two wolves have been documented by ODFW in southern Wasco County in the White River Wildlife Area, Mt. Hood National Forest and Warm Springs Indian Reservation.
This isn’t the first time wolves have been seen in Wasco County. In 2013 a single wolf was spotted near White River and a single wolf was spotted twice in 2015. However, this is the first time multiple wolves have been spotted this far north in Oregon.
Wolves in Wasco County and anywhere west of Hwys 395-78-95 are protected by the federal Endangered Species Act, so U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is the lead management agency.
Additional information about Oregon’s wolf population will be available in March, after ODFW completes its annual winter surveys and minimum population count.
For nearly a century, folks in Wasco and Jefferson counties knew the muddy ranch for the sheep and cattle that were raised on it for the Prineville Land and Livestock Company. However, in the 1980’s everything changed when a cult took over the property and embroiled the ranch and the nearby town of Antelope in four years of controversy.
For this week’s Great Outdoors, Brian Jennings takes us to Wasco County where that same ranch is now being used to inspire children.
A special thanks to our Great Outdoors sponsor, Camp Abbot Trading Company in Sunriver, for giving us the time and resources to explore the lakes, rivers and mountains across our beautiful state every Wednesday night on Central Oregon Daily.