People in OR covered their faces to shield themselves from the smoke and the ashes falling on them.
More than 30 miles of Interstate 84 running east of Portland, Oregon, was closed. It is also home to 800 wildflower species, including 16 found nowhere else in the world.
"We'll have a system coming through late Thursday night, kicking off some showers and bringing some temperatures down to where they should be this weekend", he said. "When we were getting prepared to sleep, this person climbed all the way down this huge hill, across a river, all the way with a jug of water and then put out the flame". In the early morning, the fire hopped across the Columbia River into Washington near Archer Mountain.
A wildfire burning near Mount Rainier National Park in Washington state grew to more than 29 square miles and heavy smoke blanketed many cities in Washington state.
Winds and heat have fueled the fire, which at once point jumped across the Columbia River and sparked a blaze in Washington, but calmer conditions on Wednesday helped crews begin to make inroads into containment.
On the OR side, the flames had some of the gorge's most treasured spots in its crosshairs. The Multnomah Falls Lodge, built in 1925, was saved by firefighters. On Tuesday, state Route 14 through the Washington side of the Gorge was closed to semi-truck traffic. He was hiking to Punch Bowl Falls on a first date.
Investigators are looking for witnesses who might have information about the cause of the fire.
"It was a unique experience", he said.
"It's very unusual to have this many fires burning this many acres across such a broad area at this time in September", National Interagency Fire Center spokeswoman Jennifer Jones said.
Wildfires have burned wide swaths of the western USA the past week forcing evacuations of communities, cattle to move pastures and highway closures. "That's when I immediately started taking pics of the fire", Madison told RT.com.
"We anticipate being here for a little while", she said. "I'm grief-stricken. I'm just sick".
The wildfire grew rapidly late Monday and overnight, giving authorities just minutes to warn residents on the OR side of the river to leave their homes. With fire crews and equipment already allocated to fires that threaten communities, there are now no crews actively fighting this fire. - Crews fighting the Chetco Bar Fire are concerned a thunderstorm forecasted to move through the area could start new fires.
Authorities sought to reassure the public even as they lamented the devastation. He came back with a hopeful message.
"The Gorge still looks like the Gorge. It's not a blackened, destroyed no man's land".