Firefighters respond to lightning fires
Firefighters spent the afternoon chasing several new starts ignited by lightning strikes that blanketed Central Oregon on Wednesday, June 20. More than 600 lightning strikes were recorded and firefighters have responded to 38 incidents, the largest of which is southeast of Maupin and estimated at 2,000 acres.
The Boxcar Fire, three miles south of Maupin, is burning in grass and brush on unprotected private lands and BLM lands. A Type 3 Incident Management Team has taken command of the fire, which has assigned numerous engines, one heavy air tanker, a 20-person crew, three helicopters, and four single-engine air tankers to contain the blaze.
The Graham Fire is burning in timber and brush seven miles west of Cove Palisades State Park. The latest estimate of the fire was 50 acres.
A structural protection task force has responded, as well as wildland engines, firefighters and air resources. The fire is burning on private lands protected by the Oregon Department of Forestry, but is expected to burn on to nearby national forest lands in the near term. A Type 3 team has been ordered to manage the fire.
Late this afternoon, a small fire, No. 430, was reported to be burning on BLM lands near the Deschutes County Fairgrounds near Redmond. Firefighting resources are currently responding. More information on the fire will be reported as soon as it is available.
Incident No. 391, near Lava Island Falls, is burning in a kipuka, or area of land surrounded by lava flows. The area, inaccessible to firefighters, but currently contained, will be allowed to naturally extinguish when it runs out of fuel into the lava.
The fire could eventually grow to approximately four acres and will continue to put up smoke for the next few days. The public is asked not to report the smoke, which can be seen from Lava Butte and Deschutes River Woods.
A fire near Brothers has been contained at 0.10 acre, though smoke could still be visible from Highway 20 or the Oregon Badlands. The public is asked not to call in or report the fire, and the smoke should dissipate by Friday, June 22.