Updated at 11:15 am: At 10:40 am this morning, officials released new information, saying the size of the fire is now 30,929 acres.
Officials reported this morning that the Eagle Creek fire burning in the Columbia River Gorge National Scenic has increased in size to 20,000 acres.
Part of the growth stems from their now considering two fires—Eagle Creek and Indian Creek a single fire.
More than 600 people are fighting the blaze, which has spread 15 miles to the west of its origin. On Tuesday, firefighters managed to preserve the historic Multnomah Falls lodge. They also issued level three evacuation orders for Larch Mountain and the communities of Dodson, Warrendale, Latourell, Bridal Veil, and East Corbett.
The weather forecast in the fire area calls for west winds today and possible thunderstorms on Thursday. Storms could mean much needed rain but they also hold the possibility of lightning strikes—and more fires.
Meanwhile, Friends of the Gorge, a 6,000-member non-profit that has long worked to protect the area, urged members of the public to stay away from the area.
"The wildfire photos and evacuation stories coming out of the Gorge are heartbreaking. But the bravery of first responders who have rallied to help, the expressions of support offered from Friends members and business partners, and the perseverance and grit shown by Gorge residents affected by the Eagle Creek fire has been remarkable," says the group's executive director, Kevin Gorman.
"The situation is continuing to rapidly evolve and it's crucial that members of the public stay out of the Gorge at this point. Keeping the roads clear for firefighters, first responders and evacuating Gorge residents is critical.