THE DALLES, Ore. -- More than 200 homes were in the evacuation area of the Government Flat wildfire complex near The Dalles Friday as it grew beyond 12,000 acres.
More than 1,000 firefighters and support personnel were battling the complex, which is made up of the Blackburn, Government Flat and Wells fires. The Blackburn fire was only 20 percent contained Thursday, while the other two were fully contained.
Ash flakes were reported as far away as Beaverton.
"It literally looked like someone was dumping an ashtray from the sky, it looked like it was sort of snowing but obviously wasn't," said KGW viewer Joel Gross. "It didn't seem like something you wanted to be breathing in." (See photo of ash at right.)
Background: Wildfire near The Dalles 'getting ugly again'
Several homes were placed on Level II and Level III evacuation orders in neighborhoods near the fire lines. Level II means: Make final preparations and get and set to evacuate, and Level III means: Evacuate immediately!
Corina Cameron and others who live in the area said it's been a tense week of watching and waiting. "I’m constantly on standby, just in case," she said.
Check here for specific updates: Government Flats Complex
"It's been a surreal experience for my wife and myself and we’ve been very skittish," said Lee Weinstein who lives near where the fire is burning. "On the other, hand we have been concerned about neighbors and everybody else who has been impacted by this.”
Four homes and nine outbuildings were destroyed in the wildfires.