First starting on July 17th, the Substation Fire located in Wasco County and near the Dalles in Oregon has since exploded into a 50,000 acre fire and is now responsible for one death.
According to the Wasco County Sheriff’s Office, “at approximately 1:30 pm, Sheriff’s Deputies responded to a call of a burnt tractor. Deputies located the tractor and also located the operator of the tractor a short distance away, deceased. It appears the tractor operator died as a result of exposure to the fire.” The operator likely died while attempting to suppress the expansion of the wildfire.
Residents in portions of Wasco and Sherman Counties have been ordered to evacuate as a result of the fire, leading to the opening of shelters. The community is asking for donations.
Unfortunately, at least one house has become a victim of the Substation Fire. The Charles E. Nelson house in Wasco County, a famous house and one of the most photographed in Oregon, is now completely destroyed as the fire rapidly moved through.
The landscape in this part of the state has since changed. Carter Maynard, a photojournalist for KATU, describes the below scene: “The amount of destruction caused by this fire is so sad. You can drive for a long time and you’re just surrounded by charred fields for miles.”
Captured on Thursday, below is footage from the fire line on Gordon Ridge Road near Hwy 206.
A second deadly fire, first forming Friday night, led to the death of a firefighter. He leaves behind his wife and two kids.
This fire has exploded in size the past several days thanks to the hot and dry conditions. It is now over 21,000 acres in size as over 2,000 personnel battle the blaze.
Located in Mariposa County, it is not too far from Yosemite National Park. The park remains fully open at this time, but officials are warming that the western part of the park may have to evacuate later on as the wildfire continues to grow in size. On the other hand, numerous camp grounds have been placed under a mandatory evacuation order.
The fire is only 7 percent contained, and environmental conditions will remain conducive for further expansion of the Ferguson Fire into next week.
NOAA Satellites released this GOES-20 satellite thermal image captured on Tuesday, highlighting the expansive smoke associated with this wildfire: “Land that appears dark purple in the vicinity of the fire has a hotter temperature, while the hottest areas of the fire can be seen as bright specks of teal green beneath a shroud of hazy, gray smoke. This imagery also detects the warmer land around urban heat islands, such as San Francisco, which take on a paler shade of purple.”