One of Oregon’s most scenic areas is engulfed in flames- all because someone tossed some firecrackers off a cliff.
The Columbia River Gorge has lost over 3,200 acres to fire, consuming fir forests and stranding 150 hikers as it approaches Cascade Locks in its third day of burning.
Meanwhile, a Portland electrical engineer’s cell phone footage shows two teens who allegedly started the blaze being detained by Oregon State Troopers.
The cause of the fire? Tossing fireworks down a cliff.
The owner of the phone, Kevin marnell, says a female hiker identified the two suspects tossing fireworks on Sunday afternoon.
“She caught them,” he said. “One kid was taping it with a video phone and the other kid was doing the firecracker lighting and throwing.”
The female hiker confirmed the story to Williamette Week, but did not elaborate further.
“We think that they threw it off the cliff,” Marnell added. “She saw the kids throw the firecracker and scolded them at first. Then she ran to get the police.”
“We heard that big blast,” another resident -who did not reveal his full name- said. “By the time I walked past, I saw a tree go up in flames. You’re walking along a cliff, 200 feet above the creek. It was putting out a lot of smoke, to the point it was difficult to see the path in front of you. As we were walking out, there were people still walking in. We warned them to turn around- especially those with children. They mostly ignored us.”
For some hikers who didn’t heed warnings, they found themselves trapped in the flames.
“We saw a lot of them on video being rescued the next day,” the resident added.