Oregon State Police say a teenager from Vancouver, Washington, is believed to have started the fire while he and some friends may have been using fireworks.
The hot and dry conditions over the last few months have fueled the outbreaks of over ten wildfires in OR and many more in Washington, Idaho and Montana, making this one of the worst wildfire seasons the western U.S. has ever seen, according to U.S. News and World Report.
"Fire burning right along a major interstate, closing 40 miles of road, threatening homes - this is a big deal", Dave Thompson, a spokesman for the Oregon Department of Transportation, told Oregon Live.
Fitzgerald said she was flabbergasted at how quickly the fire grew. The fire burned 14 square miles (36 square kilometers) in the community of Helena about 150 miles (240 kilometers) south of Oregon.
Burning east of Portland Ore., along Interstate 84.
Wildfires in the Pacific Northwest have prompted the state officials in OR and Washington to issue emergency declarations and close some highways in the states. Cinder from the fire wafted in the air across the Columbia River provoking blazes in the neighboring Washington state.
Smoke from regional wildfires clouds the sun in Cle Elum and surrounding areas, Tuesday, Sept. 5, 2017.
Democratic Oregon Gov. Kate Brown has said the fire has not been contained, saying, "We're working very hard to. make sure our Oregonians and firefighters are safe and to preserve our homes and our critical infrastructure".
Extreme heat warnings and air quality alerts remained in effect for large portions of OR on September 4, as firefighters continued to battle wildfires in the state. No arrests have been made so far, but the officials are asking for potential witnesses who heard fireworks or other explosions to come forward. The National Weather Service says it is likely to get worse as wind shifts bring in smoke from fires in Canada, Montana, Oregon and Washington.
Hundreds of local residents were forced to evacuate since Sunday with the most recent evacuation order issued early Tuesday afternoon. "We love the green and we love the beauty", Wagner said. A surprise to no one with a brain, the dry September brush caught fire. "Large trees nearby torched and fire crews used hose lines to protect the lodge from heat", officials wrote.