News Release from Oregon Dept. of Forestry – Posted on FlashAlert: June 28th, 2015 11:02 AM

Due to exceptionally dry landscape and drought conditions, hot weather and forecasted lightning, the risk of extreme fire activity has remained high through the weekend and into this coming week. The Oregon Department of Forestry, forestland owners and agency partners are prepared to manage conditions usually experienced in late July or early August.

Saturday, an excessive heat warning was in effect for the Willamette Valley including the greater Portland and Vancouver area, the lower Columbia and the western and central Columbia River gorge. The Northwest Interagency Coordination Center in Portland advises that “A surge of moisture and instability will continue moving northward across Oregon and Washington today and tonight. Lightning strikes are expected to ignite new fires despite showers with the thunderstorms. The combination of fire danger, instability, and numerous lightning strikes is creating nearly optimum conditions for ignition and growth of large, costly fires across much of the geographic area through Monday before conditions moderate during the new week.”

The Sugar Loaf Fire was reported burning Saturday burning in grass and timber in central Oregon on BLM land 9 miles north of Dayville. Extreme Fire behavior with residences evacuated and one outbuilding destroyed. Fire size is estimated at 5,500 acres. A State Type I Team is being assigned to this fire. Evacuations are being coordinated by the Grant County Sheriff’s Office.

In addition to the Sugarloaf fire, firefighters are working on The Buck Creek Fire (#250) located 18 miles northeast of Hampton, Oregon, which held at 250 acres overnight; and the Bear Creek Fire (#251) located 7 miles south of Prineville Reservoir near Bear Creek Butte. This fire held at 30 acres overnight. Crews will continue to hold and improve containment lines on these fires today. No estimate of containment is currently available.

>Red Flag Warnings remain in effect through 9 p.m. tonight for lightning, primarily in areas east of Prineville. As the 4th of July holiday approaches, fire officials also want to remind everyone that possession or use of fireworks on Forest Service or BLM land is illegal.

The lightning-caused Buckskin Fire (USFS) reported June 11 burning 10 miles SW of Cave Junction on the Rogue River-Siskiyou National Forest is 5,345 acres and 60 percent contained. More info available at: http://inciweb.nwcg.gov/incident/4286/

The lightning-caused Bunker Hill Fire (USFS) reported June 26 burning 30 miles SE of Oakridge, OR., is 150 acres and 0 percent contained. More info available at: http://inciweb.nwcg.gov/incident/4328/http://inciweb.nwcg.gov/incident/4328/

For information on wildfires on all jurisdictions in Oregon, view:
* the Northwest Interagency Coordination Center website, or
* the national Incident Information System site.

For information on Oregon Department of Forestry-protected lands view:
* the department’s blog for news on wildfires statewide and provides current fire statistics.
* the Southwest Oregon District blog with district specific wildfire info, and follow the Twitter feed covering fires as they occur.

This update provides information primarily about fires on Oregon Department of Forestry-protected lands involving fires 10 acres or larger. ODF provides fire protection primarily on private and state-owned forestland. The department also provides fire protection on some other lands, including U.S. Bureau of Land Management land in western Oregon.

The Oregon Department of Forestry works closely with neighbors and partner agencies to support the firefighting efforts on major fires outside its authority because sharing firefighting resources can help better protect all of Oregon’s forests.

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