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Fire Alert

C.O. crews busy tackling lightning-sparked wildfires; most caught small

Day Basin Fire tanker COFMS 729
Central Oregon Fire Management Service
Air tanker drops load of retardant to slow the Day Basin Fire southwest of Dayville on Wednesday.

Two have grown to 30-40 acres

DAYVILLE, Ore. (KTVZ) – The largest of 10 Central Oregon wildfires sparked by lightning from this week’s thunderstorms burned about 40 acres southwest of Dayville in Grant County on Wednesday before it was lined by crews aided by bulldozers and air tanker retardant drops, officials said.

The Day Basin Fire was reported around 11 a.m. Wednesday, burning in a mix of grass, brush and timber about seven miles southwest of Dayville, officials said.

Firefighters were challenged by erratic winds and difficult access, but with a bulldozer line around it, the Prineville Interagency Hotshots and a 20-person hand crew were working into the evening to secure the line on the 41-acre fire.

 The other large fire was Incident 519, reported about 5:30 p.m. Wednesday on private grass land south of Bear Creek and 12 miles northwest of Millican, in an area managed by the Brothers-Hampton Rangeland Fire Protection Association.

By 8 p.m., the fire was estimated at 30 acres. Prineville District BLM engines and a crew were responding, along with the RFPA, as the fire burned near BLM-managed lands

The rest of the fires in the area were held below a quarter-acre, officials said.

The National Weather Service in Pendleton has issued another fire weather watch for much of Central Oregon, on Thursday from 5 a.m. to 6 p.m. due to a threat of dry thunderstorms.

Meanwhile, the Oregon Department of Forestry’s Central Oregon District has raised its fire danger to “extreme” this week, due to dry fuel conditions and the potential rate of wildland fires.

ODF and federal agencies had reconnaissance planes flying across the region on Wednesday, looking for new light-sparked fires so they could be aggressively tackled while still small. A plane equipped with infrared and special cameras also was flying areas where lightning has been reported.

ODF firefighters and partners have tackled three lightning-sparked fires on state-protected lands since Monday, the largest the four-acre Little Grizzly Fire near the Ochoco West subdivision. All have been caught in initial attack. Mop-up continued Wednesday on the Little Grizzly and 1 ½-acre Cat Mountain fire. Air resources, including single-engine air tankers and helicopters, ere crucial in those efforts.

ODF said crews across its district also have responded to escaped debris burns in recent days and noted that debris burning is prohibited in the Central Oregon District at this time.

Central Oregon / Fire / News / Top Stories

Barney Lerten

Barney is the digital content director for NewsChannel 21. Learn more about Barney here.

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