Fire gives gorge city long-term water threat

The Dalles, OR - Crews worked around the clock this month to keep the Government Flats fires near The Dalles from getting to the city's water treatment plant.

Now Columbia Gorge city faces a longer-term threat to its water supply: The possibility that heavy rain could wash silt from the blackened earth into the supply of surface water.

Public Works Director Dave Anderson says that happened in 1967 after a fire. The plant was knocked out for a time, and for years afterward, the city had water quality problems after heavy rains.

The Dalles Chronicle reports ( ) the city hopes to plant grasses or grains this fall to hold the soil, followed by tree-planting when there's enough moisture.

Among other possibilities is a fence like those used in construction projects to contain silt.