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Oregon fire crews fight over 825 square miles of wildfire

Oregon fire crews fight over 825 square miles of wildfire
Smoke from the Bear Butte 2 fire, burning in the Sunflower Complex about 10 miles north of Monument, Ore. - US Forestry Service photo.
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Fire crews in Oregon are battling over a dozen active wildfires that are together burning over 825 square miles (nearly 530,000 acres) of land. Many of the active conflagrations were sparked when lightning storms moved across the Pacific Northwest region on June 13 and 14. | List of Current Fires | Interactive Map

The National Weather Service warns of a second moisture front moving north from California on Monday and into Tuesday that could bring scattered lightning storms to south central Oregon and parts of the Cascades.

With wind and more dry conditions still plaguing the region, weather officials said the short rainfalls produced by the storms might not be enough to prevent fires from flaring up. 

Governor Kitzhaber issued a state of emergency on Wednesday, which allows the Oregon National Guard to mobilize resources to help the Department of Forestry and State Fire Marshal's Office protect buildings from fire.

Red Cross volunteers from across the northwest gathered in central Oregon to help communities hit by wildfires. Volunteers are handing out supplies to help families prepare for emergency fire situations.

Bridge 99 Complex

The Bridge 99 complex is burning around 7,500 acres of the Deschutes National Forest. Officials believe it is about 20 percent contained.

Fire officials imposed a level 3 evacuation for all private lands along the Metolius River, from Allen Springs Campground to Lake Billy Chinook (including the Metolius Arm). A level 3 evacuation means there is an immediate threat to people's safety in the area.

Buzzard Complex

With an over 380 mile perimeter around the 369,000-acre Buzzard Complex, long-distance travel poses logistical and safety concerns for the 1,200 firefighters working the conflagration. Dividing the fire into an east and west zone, with an incident commander and staff for each, helps crews safely attack the fire in spite of its size, officials said.

Communities around the Buzzard Complex of fires are dealing with heavy smoke as winds from the northwest push through the region.

Ochoco Complex

Firefighters are getting the upper hand on a few of the smaller fires in the Ochoco Complex burning national forest land outside of Prineville.

Officials said fire crews held two of the smaller fires, the Antelope and  Broadway, from growing too much. The Oscar Canyon fire is listed as 80 percent contained.

Cooler temperatures and higher humidity should help fire crews with the Fox Fire, which is burning over 2,100 acres.

Shaniko Butte

Sparked by lightning on July 13, Shaniko Butte fire had grown to an estimated 45,000 acres about 15 miles north of Warms Springs.

Crews orchestrated several large "burnout operations", which made for a jump in acreage but should help establish containment lines. Officials announced Sunday, July 20 that the fire was believed to be about 50 percent contained. 

The Bureau of Land Management reopened the lower Deschutes River on Sunday, but officials advise rafters that they may need to stop periodically to allow helicopters to dip their buckets.

Waterman Complex

Land Management officials said they hope to reopen one lane of Highway 26 through the Ochoco Mountains of central Oregon on Monday, using a pilot car to escort traffic through the fire zone.

Fire officials said the Bailey Butte fire — the largest part of the Waterman Complex — had burned more than 8,400 acres west of Mitchell, Ore.

A level 3 evacuation is in place for homes along West Branch Road and in the Marks Creek areas. Red Cross volunteers are helping evacuated families at Crook County High School in Prineville and the community hall in Mitchell.

Moccasin Hill Fire

Families were allowed to return home Sunday morning after a fire quickly spread to the Moccasin Hill subdivision of Klamath County on Sunday, July 13.

"Today was a seek and destroy mission" began Operations Chief Joe Hessel's report of yesterday's day shift progress as crews continued to extinguish all smokes within 300 feet of the fireline and structures.

The 2,535-acre fire is listed as 95 percent contained.

Oregon fires in brief | Interactive Map

Beaver Creek, 45 miles east of Burns. Started by lighting July 13. 8,400 acres, 23% contained.

Bingham Complex, . 5 miles north of Marion Forks. Started July 13 by lightning. 452 acres, 25% containment. Includes Bingham and Lizard fires.

Bridge 99 Complex, 20 miles north of Sisters. Started July 13 by lightning. 5,310 acres, 20% contained. Includes Bridge 99 and Bear Butte.

Buzzard Complex near Burns. Started July 14 by lightning. 368,961 acres, 50% contained. Buzzard Complex includes Buzzard, Riley Field, Bartlet, Lamb Ranch, Incident 4110, Beaver Creek, Twin Reservoir and Saddle Draw fires

Gumboot, 35 miles west of Burns, Ore. Lightning start on July 14. 1,600 acres, 50% contained.

Hurricane Creek, 5 miles southwest of Joseph, Ore. Lightning start July 14. Burning in timber. 120 acres, 10% containment.

Jack Knife, 8 miles southeast of Grass Valley, Ore. Cause unknown. Started July 13. 7/13. 13,260 acres, 80% contained.

Logging Unit, 26 miles northwest of Warm Springs. Started July 16 by lightning. 7,328 acres. 0% containment.

Moccasin Hill, 25 miles northeast of Klamath Falls. Cause unknown. Start July 13-14. 2,535 acres, 55% contained.

Ochoco Complex, 17 miles east of Post, Ore. was started by lightning on July 13. 2,600 acres. Includes the Oscar Canyon, Lava, Antelope, Broadway and Fox fires.

Pine Creek, 11 miles south of Fossil. Started July 14 by lightning. 29,490 acres, 15% containment.

Pittsburgh, 18 mile northeast of Imnaha. Started July 13 by lightning. 8,000 acres, 40% containment.

Saddle Draw, 19 miles southeast of Crane. Lightning start July 13. 27,000 acres. 50% contained.

Shaniko Butte, 15 miles north of Warm Springs. Started July 13 by lightning. 42,000 acres, 0% containment. Extreme fire behavior.

Sunflower, 10 miles north of Monument. Started July 14 by lightning. 5,900 acres, 20% containment.

Waterman Complex, 10 miles northeast of Mitchell. Started July 14 by lightning. 11,900  acres, 35% containment. Highway 26 closed. Complex includes Bailey Butte, Toney Butte and Junctions Springs incidents near Mitchell, OR.

White River, 15 miles west of Maupin. 652 acres, 95% contained.

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