Pendleton Wildfire Now 100 Percent Contained
PENDLETON, Oregon - The Umatilla County Emergency Operations Center in Pendleton was activated after a wildfire broke out around one o'clock Tuesday afternoon.
The City of Pendleton Fire Chief John Fowler said it started near Reith in the Coombs Canyon area on the south side of the Umatilla River.
More than 10 different fire agencies responded to the flames.
Fowler estimated that more than 500 acres of land burned. There were no mandatory evacuations, however the Willowbrook Terrace Nurse Home and several people did relocate as the flames moved closer to a number of structures.
Tuesday night fire crews said the fire was 100 percent contained but monitored the area throughout the night.
Despite 100 structures being threatened at the height of the fire, Fowler said only one storage shed actually burned.
Flames came close to homes and scared many neighbors including France Winklander who was picking up a prescription in town when he got a call from his son who told him to get home because the fire was getting close.
Winklander said, "All you could see was smoke, until it busted over the top of the hill, then all you could see was red flames."
Fowler said the firefighters knew they were in for a fight when strong winds started to spread the flames. He said the winds mixed with cottonwood and underbrush caused for some serious concern.
Winklander said, "I was praying to the lord to save my house, save the animals. I just hoped we would all make it out alive."
Three acres burned in Winkander's backyard but all his horses, sheep, and goats made it out alive.
Firefighters will watch over the burned area overnight to make sure there are no flare-ups.
Winklander said, "It was pretty scary."