PRINEVILLE, Ore.—Fire crews continue to make steady progress around Central Oregon responding to numerous lightning-caused fire starts from Tuesday’s and Wednesday’s thunderstorms.
Wednesday evening brought heavy lightning activity across the Deschutes National Forest, especially centered around the Sisters area, which received hundreds of lightning strikes.
Crews spent Thursday morning responding to six new lightning starts in the Sisters area, including at least four that are very visible from Three Creeks Road. All fires are very small and crews continue to suppress them aggressively.
Another start on the southwest slope of Mt. Bachelor is a half-acre in size and continues to put up smoke that is very visible to nearby communities. Smoke jumpers have responded to that fire and are reporting good progress.
A fire discovered yesterday, Incident 590, four miles northeast of Crane Prairie Reservoir, is estimated at 20 acres. Crews attacked that fire with retardant drops yesterday and it has not grown since then.
In all, crews have responded to more than 20 lightning starts within a 10-mile radius of Crane Prairie Reservoir, most of them less than a quarter-acre.
Further east, the Sniption fire, a wind-driven grass fire between Condon and Fossil, has grown to more than 18,000 acres. The fire originated on private land west of Condon before moving south across private and BLM land, and is reportedly threatening homes in the Thirtymile Canyon area.
Two helicopters and two air tankers are deployed, and the fire is still reported west of Highway 19.
The National Weather Service in Pendleton has issued a Red Flag Warning for thunderstorms producing abundant lightning. The warning will be in effect through 11 p.m. Saturday, August 2, with daily lightning activity expected.