Started in the fall of 2017, the Eagle Creek Fire burned over 48,000 acres in the Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area. While fires are a natural part of many forested ecosystems, when they impact places like the Columbia River Gorge, our thoughts turn to how we can help the ecosystems, trails and wildlife habitat that we cherish recover. That is why the NFF established the Eagle Creek Fire Restoration Fund to aid the recovery of the Columbia River Gorge.
The Eagle Creek Fire impacted some of the most visited sites in the Gorge and many people have been wondering how the area has recovered. The good news is that the fire’s impact was relatively light in many areas of the Gorge.
The U.S. Forest Service reports that 55 percent of the area did not burn or burned at a low severity not killing any trees. 30 percent of the fire burned moderately and only 15 percent burned at a high severity. What does this mean? While some parts of the forest will look different for many years, many places in the Gorge were not heavily impacted by the fire will recover on its own over time.
While fires are a natural part of many forested ecosystems, when they impact places like the Columbia River Gorge, our thoughts turn to how we can help the ecosystems, trails and wildlife habitat that we cherish recover. That is why the NFF established the Eagle Creek Fire Restoration Fund to aid the recovery of the Columbia River Gorge National Scenic.
Once the fire was out the NFF has been working closely with the U.S. Forest Service to understand the impacts of the fire and how we can best support recovery efforts. Since almost 90 percent of the fire burned in the Mark O. Hatfield Wilderness Area, the U.S. Forest Service will not plant trees and instead they will be allowed to naturally grow back on their own in the Wilderness Area.
However, there is a lot of work that needs to be done including reopening hiking trails, restoring wildlife habitat and planting native plants. In 2018, the NFF used funds raised in the Eagle Creek Fire Restoration Fund to reopen over 60 miles of hiking trails and reduce rock slides and erosion.
There is a lot more work to be done over the next couple of years to reopen all of the hiking trails and help the areas hardest impacted by the fire grow back. For this reason, we still need donations that will help us to get this important work completed.
As the non-profit partner to the U.S. Forest Service, the NFF is a 501c3 organization and all contributions are tax deductible. For every $1 that is donated, $0.85 goes to on-the-ground restoration efforts in the Columbia River Gorge that have been impacted by the Eagle Creek Fire.
Thank you for your support in helping the Columbia River Gorge recover from the eagle Creek Fire.
NFF Contact Information
Patrick Shannon | NFF Pacific Northwest Director