PRINEVILLE, Ore.—Central Oregon experienced significant lightning activity last night, which created a number of new starts from the east slopes of the Cascades east to the Dayville area.
By 9 a.m. this morning, the dispatch center had fielded more than 20 reports of potential new fires since 8 p.m. last night. Reports are expected to continue coming in throughout the morning.
A new fire 15 miles south of Dayville and 4 miles east of the South Fork John Day River had grown to 3,000 acres by early morning on BLM-administered lands.
Crews worked through the night to protect three threatened structures in the Murderers Creek area and keep open a road for ranch owners to access their property. Firefighting efforts will continue throughout today.
Other reports include multiple, small starts west and northwest of Sisters, including four strikes immediately surrounding Black Butte. There are two starts reported in the Three Sisters Wilderness, one start immediately west of Elk Lake, two starts just southeast of Wickiup Reservoir, and six small starts south of China Hat.
Other activity includes multiple, small starts across Prineville BLM-administered lands, including several south of Brothers, and isolated starts across the Maury Mountains and Ochoco Mountains.
Oregon Team 3, a Type 2 Incident Management Team, is expected to take command of the Sniption fire near Condon today.
The Sniption fire is a wind-driven grass fire that originated about 7 miles west of Condon on Tuesday on private property. The fire has since spread south and west onto both private and BLM lands, moving into Thirtymile Canyon and Sniption Canyon.
The fire is reported at 25,000 acres and 20 percent containment.
Firefighting efforts have focused on keeping the fire west of Highway 19, which connects Condon to Fossil, and protecting 10 threatened ranches in the area. Crews will continue suppression efforts today using air and ground resources. Currently, 127 firefighters are assigned to the fire.
Future updates on the Sniption fire will be available online at: http://inciweb.nwcg.gov/incident/4026/
Two fires southwest of Dayville continue to put up smoke but have not grown. One fire is reported at 13 acres and another at 40 acres. Crews have fought the fires with water drops from a helicopter due to the steep, inaccessible terrain.
Three fires east of Dayville are being managed by the Oregon Department of Forestry as the Haystack Complex. Information on those fires can be found online at: http://inciweb.nwcg.gov/incident/4020/
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.
Storms that develop are expected to bring with them at least the potential for some rain, with precipitation ranging from a few hundredths of an inch to around a quarter of an inch.