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S. Wasco County wildfire tops 8,000 acres


While crews have contained a nearly 1,700-acre wildfire north of Madras, another that also began Sunday on private land farther north has now grown to more than 8,000 acres, officials said Tuesday.

Lightning storms passed through much of Central Oregon over the last week, igniting 18 new wildfires, the Central Oregon Interagency Dispatch Center in Prineville reported. While most of these were quickly contained, firefighters continue to work on two of the new starts.

Firefighters are working with private landowners to contain the Baker Canyon Fire (Incident #233). The fire started on private land three miles southwest of the Hwy. 97/197 junction and has burned toward the Wasco/Jefferson County lines.

Although the fire was reported on Sunday, the fire burned on private, unprotected land until it made a run to the south onto BLM-managed lands Monday night, officials said.

BLM firefighters will focus efforts on containing the southern and western sides of this fire to keep the fire from moving toward the Trout Creek recreation area. At this time, the campground and recreation area are not threatened and there are no evacuations, fire officials said.

The Baker Canyon Fire at last report was at 8,058 acres,burning in a mix of juniper, sagebrush and grass. There is no estimate of containment at this time. Resources on the fire include two engines, a Type I and a Type II helicopter, the Rogue River Hotshot crew, and miscellaneous overhead personnel.

The Lexsfall Fire (Incident #231), located 10 miles northeast of Madras in the Lyle Gap area, holds steady at 1,680 acres.

Fire crews have been working on this fire since it was reported on Sunday, and it was expected to be declared 100 percent contained Tuesday at 6 p.m.

Although Central Oregon has experienced precipitation with the lightning storms, conditions continue to get hotter and dryer, fire officials warned.

People recreating on public land are encouraged to use caution, follow all fire restrictions and extinguish campfires anytime an adult is not watching them.

The best method to put out a campfire is to pour water over it, mix the embers with a shovel – making a campfire “soup.” Once the campfire is cooled, feel over the area with the back of the hand. If a fire it too hot to touch, it’s too hot to leave. “Dead out” is cold to the touch.

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