Crews battle lightning-sparked fires

Daniel B. Wheeler dwheeler at ipns.com
Thu Jul 11 01:14:10 EST 2002


>From The Oregonian, July 10, 2002, p C10

Crews battle lightning-sparked fires
Dozens of blazes pop up in Oregon and Washington, and warming weather
is a concern for firefighters

By RICHARD COCKLE, Correspondent, The Oregonian
	LA GRANDE - As temperatures across the Northwest soared into the 90s
and even higher, fire crews battled dozens of small, lightning-caused
wildfires Tuesday.
	U.S. Forest Service airborne smoke jumpers attacked blazes in the
rugged North Fork John Day Wilderness south of La Grande and along the
southern fringe of the Eagle Cap Wilderness, said a spokesman for the
agency.
	Elsewhere, a 500-acre grass fire kept crews busy on the Umatilla
National Wildlife Refuge near Patterson, Wash., just across the
Columbia River from the Oregon town of Irrigon. Meanwhile, a range
fire on the Hanford Nuclear Reservation in south-central Washington
charred about 250 acres of grass and sagebrush but did not burn any
structures.
	About a dozen lightning-caused blazes between La Grande and Baker
City appeared under control, and a trail crew extinguished a small
wildfire near the Snake River town of Halfway, said Renae Crippen, a
spokeswoman for the Forest Service in La Grande.
	Firefighters were setting up a small incident command camp in the
mountain town of Ukiah, 50 miles south of Pendleton, said Joani
Bosworth, a Forest Service spokeswoman in Pendleton. She said crews
based there were battling the 50-acre Deerhorn Creek Fire, three miles
west of Dale, and the 14-acre Cougar Fire in the North Fork John Day
Wilderness.
	Crews also were fighting a small wildfire in the heavily timbered
Blue Mountains east of Meacham between La Grande and Pendleton,
Bosworth said.
	In all, about 66 wildfires were burning between 11 a.m. Monday and
the same time Tuesday in Oregon and Washington, said David Widmark,
spokesman for the Northwest Interagency Coordination Center in
Portland.
	The biggest, the Pinto Horse fire south of the remote settlement of
Rome in Malheur County, was contained behind fire lines Monday night,
he said. It blackened 2,500 acres, but back burning and other control
measures increased the charred landscape to about 10,000 acres, he
said.
	"The weather is going to play a key role in our firefighting effort,"
Bosworth said. "Temperatures are supposed to peak near 100, and
humidity is dropping into the single digits."
	More of the same was expected today, she said. Hot, dry conditions
work in favor of wildfires and against firefighting crews, Bosworth
said.

Comment by poster: the season has begun. Start your fire engines.

Daniel B. Wheeler
www.oregonwhitetruffles.com



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