Deadly Substation Fire becomes top priority wildfire in U.S.; cause under investigation

The deadly Substation Fire that started near The Dalles has become the top priority wildfire in the U.S., according t...

Posted: Jul 20, 2018 3:52 PM
Updated: Jul 20, 2018 3:52 PM

The deadly Substation Fire that started near The Dalles has become the top priority wildfire in the U.S., according to fire officials.

Officials said Thursday afternoon that 217 firefighters from 73 agencies across the state were working to control the 50,000-acre wildfire.

Additional resources, including 60 more people to help on all aspects of the firefighting operation, were headed to the scene Thursday after the fire was designated the country's top priority wildfire.

Officials said there was also a significant air attack being utilized on the fire, including multiple tankers dropping water and retardant.

Firefighters said 35-40 mph winds created challenging conditions for firefighters Thursday, with the fire seeing significant growth at its south end, as well as growth to the north.

The fire was first spotted Tuesday near The Dalles and quickly got out of control. It spread 18 miles south its first night.

One person has died as a result of the fire. Investigators said 64-year-old John Ruby was creating a fire line with his tractor to protect neighboring property when he died from exposure to the fire.

The Ruby family released a statement Thursday thanking the community for their support, while also acknowledging that they were still "actively working to keep our friends and neighbors safe." A donation fund was also established by the family.

Wasco County Sheriff Lane Magill said Thursday multiple agencies were working around the clock to determine the cause of the fire. He described it as an "ongoing criminal investigation," but he said releasing any further details could compromise the investigation.

A tip line was created as part of the investigation. Anyone with information is asked to call 1-800-452-7888.

Officials said 900 homes were under Level 2 – "Be set" – and Level 3 – "Go now" – evacuation orders. The towns of Moro and Grass Valley were under Level 3 evacuations.

As of Thursday evening, Biggs Junction was reduced to a Level 2 evacuation.

Evacuation updates are being posted at facebook.com/SubstationFire2018.

Drivers were advised to use caution in the area, due to low visibility from smoke.

West Lafayette
Scattered Clouds
57° wxIcon
Hi: 63° Lo: 56°
Feels Like: 57°
Kokomo
Few Clouds
56° wxIcon
Hi: 61° Lo: 55°
Feels Like: 56°
Rensselaer
Scattered Clouds
52° wxIcon
Hi: 60° Lo: 50°
Feels Like: 52°
Fowler
Scattered Clouds
52° wxIcon
Hi: 61° Lo: 52°
Feels Like: 52°
Williamsport
Overcast
55° wxIcon
Hi: 63° Lo: 55°
Feels Like: 55°
Crawfordsville
Overcast
53° wxIcon
Hi: 65° Lo: 58°
Feels Like: 53°
Frankfort
Clear
57° wxIcon
Hi: 64° Lo: 56°
Feels Like: 57°
Delphi
Overcast
53° wxIcon
Hi: 61° Lo: 54°
Feels Like: 53°
Monticello
Overcast
53° wxIcon
Hi: 59° Lo: 52°
Feels Like: 53°
Logansport
Broken Clouds
55° wxIcon
Hi: 60° Lo: 51°
Feels Like: 55°
Near Record Heat On The Way
WLFI Radar
WLFI Temps
WLFI Planner

Indiana Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 150664

Reported Deaths: 4008
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Marion24697784
Lake13220352
St. Joseph8877159
Elkhart8469132
Allen7880222
Hamilton5962113
Vanderburgh559360
Tippecanoe354714
Monroe320738
Hendricks3183130
Johnson2995128
Porter297848
Clark285461
Delaware282074
Vigo252637
Madison229593
Cass222021
LaPorte215557
Warrick188464
Kosciusko176823
Floyd174867
Howard158866
Bartholomew139758
Dubois135125
Marshall132526
Henry122628
Grant120939
Wayne119327
Boone118848
Hancock114145
Noble113533
Jackson108713
Morgan92240
Dearborn91628
Daviess84033
Gibson83411
Clinton81616
Shelby79429
Lawrence78534
LaGrange76715
Harrison74024
Putnam71016
Knox70310
DeKalb69411
Posey6796
Steuben6008
Fayette58517
Miami5845
Montgomery57222
White56815
Jasper5624
Greene51837
Scott50813
Decatur49839
Adams4725
Clay4346
Whitley4316
Sullivan42812
Ripley4228
Wells4155
Starke3937
Wabash3919
Orange38725
Huntington3785
Spencer3706
Franklin36525
Jennings36013
Washington3592
Randolph3398
Fulton3362
Jefferson3305
Pike31913
Carroll31413
Perry29514
Jay2876
Fountain2863
Tipton26823
Parke2203
Newton21811
Vermillion2181
Rush2044
Owen2021
Martin1950
Blackford1923
Crawford1491
Pulaski1471
Brown1303
Ohio1227
Benton1070
Union1040
Switzerland890
Warren751
Unassigned0233

COVID-19 Important links and resources

As the spread of COVID-19, or as it's more commonly known as the coronavirus continues, this page will serve as your one-stop for the resources you need to stay informed and to keep you and your family safe. CLICK HERE

Closings related to the prevention of the COVID-19 can be found on our Closings page.

Community Events