There is no time frame for when Interstate 84 will reopen in the Columbia River Gorge, says the Oregon Department of Transportation.
The 50-mile stretch between Troutdale and Hood River is currently closed due to fears of burned trees and rock slides landing on the highway as the Eagle Creek Fire continues to rage.
ODOT estimates between 1,500 and 2,000 trees were burned on that stretch, and are now at risk for falling onto the freeway, in addition to burning rock. Firefights are also still occupying the freeway.
"The rock slides range from along the shoulders to smaller rocks that come down," ODOT spokesperson Kimberly Dinwiddie tells WW. "But it also is burning rock. It's on fire. If that lands on your car, it could kill somebody."
She says that ODOT will likely open I-84 westbound first and eastbound at a later date. State officials are trying to decide which trees need to be removed.
"We're trying to figure out what ones need to come down right away and what can wait awhile. We just got one area cleared from the fire teams to begin clearing the trees, so we are hiring contractors today to get to start that work probably tomorrow," she says.
The Columbia River Highway will also remain closed indefinitely, but I-84 will likely reopen first.
"When we have major roadside closures, we always put our priority on the interstate instead of opening the highways," she says.
In the meantime, westbound travelers can use State Road 14 in Washington, or go around the south side of Mt. Hood using US-26 to US-35.