1 killed, evacuations ordered as 79,121-acre Substation Fire burns in The Dalles, Oregon

By Chaffin Mitchell, AccuWeather staff writer
July 22, 2018, 4:13:36 PM EDT

A tractor operator has died and more than 79,000 acres have burned in a wildfire southeast of a city in Wasco County, Oregon, named The Dalles.

Deputies found the person who died in the Substation Fire while responding to a call about a burned tractor early Wednesday afternoon, according to the Wasco County Sheriff's Office.

Substation Fire - Washington Emergency Management

A strike team from Washington state arrived on July 20 to help battle the massive Substation Fire in Oregon, according to the Washington Military Department's Emergency Management Division. (Twitter photo/@waEMD)

According to reports, the traffic operator died from fire exposure. Investigators believe the tractor operator was trying to create a fire line in an effort to help suppress the Substation Fire.

The fire began burning out of control Tuesday night.

Oregon Gov. Kate Brown declared a state of emergency due to the ongoing wildfire and increasing fire activity.

On Friday, evacuations were reduced to a Level 2 west of U.S. Highway 97, including Moro, Grass Valley and Kent.

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The fire closed a 67-mile stretch of U.S. Highway 97 from Biggs Junction at the Columbia Gorge south to the Highway 197 junction earlier this past week, officials said. The highway reopened on Thursday morning, according to KTVZ.

The Charles E. Nelson house was one of the most photographed homes in Oregon and it was destroyed by the fire.

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