PRINEVILLE, Ore.—The largest fire in Central Oregon, the Sniption fire, grew to 25,000 acres today.
The Sniption fire is a wind-driven grass fire that originated about 9 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.
Crews spent the day fighting the fire with helicopters and air tankers, and multiple engines, keeping the fire west of Highway 19, which connects Condon to Fossil.
Crews conducted burnout operations late into the night yesterday and protected a farm house and other structures from the fire.
A Type 2 Incident Management Team will take command of the fire, using Condon High School as a base camp.
Future updates on the Sniption fire will be available online at: http://inciweb.nwcg.gov/incident/4026/
The dispatch center fielded 18 new smoke reports by 7 p.m. today, most of them south and west of Bend on the Deschutes National Forest.
Last night’s thunderstorms brought significant lightning activity to the east slopes of the Cascades, with scattered lightning across Jefferson and Crook counties.
At the time of this report, thunderstorms have begun moving northeast across Highway 20 southeast of Bend into Prineville BLM-administered lands and the Maury Mountains.
Lightning activity is expected to continue later into the evening with more strikes anticipated.
In the Cascades today, crews responded to multiple small and single-tree fires. Smoke jumpers responded to a half-acre fire on the southwest slopes of Mt. Bachelor and had contained it by early evening.
A 20-acre fire about 4 miles northeast of Crane Prairie Reservoir was 50 percent lined with bulldozers by early evening. Firefighters halted fire spread on that incident yesterday with fire retardant.
Yesterday, helicopters used Crane Prairie Reservoir for bucket drops to fight multiple small fires near the reservoir.
Two new fires were reported in the Ochoco Mountains today. One of them, near Horse Heaven Creek west of Forest Road 4230, was 0.75 acres. Crews suppressed the fire with water drops from a helicopter. Another fire, on Bear Mountain, was contained at less than 0.1 acre.
Two fires southwest of Dayville continued to put up smoke but saw little growth. One fire is reported at 13 acres and another at 40 acres. Crews 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.