March 2, 2018

Man and woman taking in a room full of people with intent on their faces

First Responders Prepare for Possibility of Land Movement Event in Eagle Creek Burn Area:

On September 2nd an event happened in the Columbia River Gorge that had an impact on all that love the space.  As the Eagle Creek Fire made its way through the western half of the Gorge people were in disbelief.  Our beloved Gorge was afire and there didn’t seem to be an end in sight.  But, at the hands of the firefighters, and through the course of time, the fire eventually became contained and our beautiful landscape started to heal.

Unfortunately, as a consequence of the fire another hazard has emerged.  We are now faced with the possibility of a land movement event in the burn area.  This could include landslide, debris flows, rock falls, flash flooding, or other similar events. 

On February 27th Multnomah County Emergency Management and Multnomah County Sheriff’s Office put on a table top exercise to identify how the first 24 hours of such an event would be managed.  Agencies and stakeholders from throughout the Gorge participated in the 4 hour event.  The main topics of discussion focusing on life safety and communications to the public. 

While this exercise did not answer all the questions, it certainly brought the organizations involved one step closer to carrying out an effective response if there were ever to be such an event.  Let’s keep our fingers crossed that there will not be a need.

For more information on land movement risk and how to mitigate against such an event please visit Oregon Department of Geology and Mineral Industries’ site or take a look at this brochure for a quick primer on landslides.