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Cemetery Fire grows to more than 1,400 acres, 50 percent contained Thursday morning

Firefighters made significant progress on the Cemetery Fire in the Maury Mountains Wednesday to create a cold, black line between the fire and the fireline.

The 1,414-acre fire grew from 1,300 acres Wednesday and is 50 percent contained, Northwest Interagency Incident Management Team 8, Incident Commander, Doug Johnson reported Thursday morning.

"There was no movement of the fire perimeter. The fire continues to smoke and creep around in the islands of unburned fuels within the fire perimeter," he said. "An infrared flight last night showed the majority of heat remaining in the timbered areas and cooled in the grasslands."

Values at risk include grazing and private lands, Greater Sage Grouse habitat, and timber.

State and federal firefighters responded to more than 24 small lightning starts across Central Oregon caused by a thunderstorm Sunday evening that delivered several hundred lightning strikes across south and central portions of the state.

Every wildfire so far has been kept to one acre or less, except the Cemetery Fire, burning along the northeast border of the Ochoco National Forest's Maury Mountains and on a privately owned ranch, about 30 miles southeast of Prineville.

First reported around 1 p.m., Monday, the fire quickly grew in the strong afternoon winds, burning in both dry shrub and grass rangelands and climbing into higher elevation timbered areas.

Cemetery Fire resources include two Type 1 crews, two Type 2 initial attack crews, four Type 2 crews, two camp crews, one medium helicopter, one light helicopter, 11 engines, two skidgines, three dozers, five water tenders, and 85 overhead.

Resources in excess to operational needs will be demobilized and made available for assignment to other incidents.

A temporary flight restriction has been placed over the fire area to allow for safe aerial operations.

A Red Flag Warning was in effect Thursday for low humidity, dry fuels and breezy conditions.

"Today, firefighters will hold and improve established fire lines to keep the fire within the established perimeter; search for spots of heat and mop-up those areas; and patrol," Johnson stated Thursday morning.

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