Another day, another thunderstorm: Oregon on fire - again

UPDATE: Storms ignited fires on Umpqua National Forest, Crater Lake National Park lands

EUGENE, Ore. - Lightning ripped a path across Oregon on Tuesday, sparking a new batch of wildfires.

And a new band of intense thunderstorms hit eastern Lane and Douglas counties Wednesday evening, raising the specter of new wildfires.

On Tuesday, lightning moved through southwest Oregon, the Cascades and central and southeast Oregon Tuesday, igniting fires across the state on private and public lands, the Oregon Department of Forestry said.

Firefighting agencies spent the day Wednesday doing reconnaissance and initial attack on fires that have been identified.

"Initial attack" is wildland firefighting jargon for the early attempts to knock down a fire.

The small percentage of fires that escape initial attack grow into the large fires that can take days or weeks - or fall snow and rain - to contain.

Lightning continues in the forecast for the remainder of the week, with a Red Flag warning in effect for much of the Cascades and southern Oregon. A Red Flag warning means conditions are prime for new fires to start and rapidly spread.

In Central Oreogn, 700 lightning strikes started over 30 small fires in Central Oregon on Tuesday afternoon and evening, mostly on the Deschutes National Forest.
Firefighters kept nearly all the fires under 1 acre, including one in the critical Bend Municipal Watershed.

Two fires north of the Ochoco National Forest on private land and Prineville BLM land are larger and burning in lighter fuels.

One fire 5 miles west of Condon is approximately 1,000 acres with zero containment and the cause of that fire is unknown at this time.

The second fire, 2 miles southwest of Dayville, was caused by lightning and has been lined at 16 acres.

In southern Oregon, fire crews responded to multiple reports of wildfires.

As of noon Wednesday, the Lakeview Interagency Fire Center confirmed 29 wildfires: 22 in Klamath County and seven in Lake County.

"Considering the great number of wildfires we're getting, our interagency wildland firefighting resources have been very successful in containing and controlling these fires," said Bob Crumrine, Deputy Interagency Fire Staff Officer for the BLM Lakeview District and Fremont-Winema National Forest. "Despite the extremely dry vegetation and precarious weather conditions, we've been very fortunate to utilize multiple aircraft to assist firefighting operations on the ground."