'Sounded like a fire cracker': Hiker shares what he heard before Eagle Creek Fire began

Kevin Marnell said he was hiking in the Columbia River Gorge when the Eagle Creek Fire began. Saturday afternoon he said he heard a noise that "sounded like a fire cracker going off." (SBG photo) 

CASCADE LOCKS, Ore. – A hiker who barely escaped the Eagle Creek Fire Saturday afternoon said he heard a loud bang and then saw smoke while he was in the forest.

“It sounded like a gun blast, but it also sounded like a fire cracker going off,” said Kevin Marnell who was hiking in the area when the fire began.

Oregon State Police said fireworks may have sparked the 3,000-acre Eagle Creek Wildfire on Saturday.

The wildfire has since caused nearby residents to evacuate more than 130 homes.

More than 150 hikers were stranded overnight Saturday by the fast-growing wildfire. It was a seven-mile hike to rescue them.

“It's extremely dangerous with how dry the climate is and everything. It can endanger a lot of people,” said Sgt. Jason Calloway from Oregon State Police.

The fire was last measured at 3,000 acres. Crews plan to try measuring the fire again Monday morning.

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