Rowena Fire grows to 3,374 acres; now 35% contained - WTVM.com-Columbus, GA News Weather & Sports

Rowena Fire grows to 3,374 acres; now 35% contained

Photo courtesy: Carol Moore, a high school teacher in The Dalles. Photo courtesy: Carol Moore, a high school teacher in The Dalles.
Photo credit: Donald Verger Photography Photo credit: Donald Verger Photography
ROWENA, OR (KPTV) -

Gusty winds and relatively low humidity levels helped the Rowena Fire grow to 3,374 acres Friday morning, according to spokesman Dave Wells with the Oregon Department of Forestry.

About 740 people's homes were threatened and many were told to pack up and leave immediately as the winds picked up Thursday afternoon and the fire moved southwest.

In the Foley Lakes area, the wind pushed fire back into a neighborhood where evacuation levels had been decreased from 3 to 1.

On the fire lines, firefighters focused on saving homes and outbuildings. At a community meeting in the Dalles Thursday night, an incident commander with the State Fire Marshall's Office confirmed at least one structure has burned, and possibly a second. Both were believed to be outbuildings.

Fifteen people spent Wednesday night in a Red Cross shelter set up at Dry Hollow Elementary School, including Doris Cox and her husband Norman.

"At about 10, my neighbor was pounding on the door saying, 'you have to leave now,'" said Cox. "I was, of course, thinking the fire would come to the house and all the other houses. I was quite upset."

Firefighters were bracing for similar weather conditions Friday, as they went into their morning briefing.

QUICK FACTS

Size: 3372 acres

Percent Contained: 35%

Cause: Under Investigation

Evacuations: Level III- 143 homes, Level I- 597 homes

Damage Assessment: 740 homes threatened, 2 damaged, 1 destroyed, 5 outbuildings destroyed

Red Flag Warning: In effect for the fire Friday with low relative humidities and high winds.

Copyright 2014 KPTV-KPDX Broadcasting Corporation. All rights reserved.

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