Clackamas County’s Riverside Fire Up to 20% Containment

Firefighters made excellent progress on the Riverside Fire over the weekend, increasing the fire’s containment by 9% in just one day.

As of Sunday morning, the Riverside Fire was reported at 20% containment. On Saturday, the fire had been only 11% contained.

Additionally, the fire grew only 15 acres between Saturday and Sunday morning.

“Our firefighters continue to make progress in strengthening and expanding containment lines near local communities,” said Incident Commander Alan Sinclair. “We understand the importance of getting back home and we are having daily conversations with the cooperators and are moving as quickly as possible to get residents back where they need to be.”

The Riverside Fire, a human-caused fire which started Sept. 8, has burned 137,880 acres. The fire had 710 personnel assigned to it as of Sunday.

Incident command also shared additional information this weekend about the fire’s classification as “human-caused”: what it means, and what it doesn’t mean.

“Fire has just two causes: natural and human,” fire officials said. “Natural sources include both lightning and volcanoes. Since there was no recorded lightning or volcanic eruptions when the fire was first reported in the early morning hours of Sept. 8, 2020, the fire was determined to be human-caused.”

When it comes to human causes of fire, though, the list is long: cigarettes, dragging chains, campfires, charcoal stoves, cars parked in tall grass, and on and on.

For most of the past two weeks, firefighters’ top priorities have been protecting lives and property, and trying to stop Riverside’s relentless spread toward vulnerable communities like Estacada and Colton.

Now, the fire is being investigated to determine the cause, fire managers said, and the results will be released by the Mount Hood National Forest when they are available.

“We ask that everyone do their part to continue to focus on rebuilding and repairing our communities rather than furthering any rumors related to the cause of the fire,” the Sept. 19 post by incident commanders concluded.

Ever since wildfires first ripped through the area on Labor Day evening, they have been the subject of persistent rumors that they were the work of politically motivated anti-fascist agitators.

Though a couple, unrelated arson arrests have been made in Clackamas County in the past week, law enforcement has consistently stated a lack of evidence of any widespread arson or a coordinated effort by any organized groups.

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