Fire growing near Hills Creek Reservoir outside of Oakridge

OAKRIDGE, Ore. -- A fire burning near the Hills Creek Reservoir grew to about 8 acres, Willamette National Fire officials said Saturday.

A lightning storm started the fire early Friday morning in a stand of trees on steep, rocky terrain near Oakridge.

The fire, named the Landes Creek fire, is fueled by downed trees and dead snags in the area.

Officials said a citizen reported the fire after seeing smoke rising from the forest near the reservoir.

Fire crews are working two smaller fires in the area, believed to have been started by the same thunderstorm. Crews hiked out Saturday morning to size up one of them that was spotted last night.

From the Willamette National Forest Agency:

Residents of Oakridge and those visiting the Hills Creek Reservoir will see and hear a large firefighting helicopter today. The helicopter will be dipping from the Reservoir and visitors are asked to stay well clear as winds created by the helicopter blades can break tree limbs and create other hazards.

"Please be careful with fire as conditions are abnormally dry this summer" stated Fire Management Officer Randy Green of Oakridge, "We need everyone to put out any campfires they use, be vigilant about calling in any smokes they see, and keep an eye out for any suspicious or irresponsible behavior from others in regard to fire."

Forest officials continue to ask visitors and residents to be careful with fire and to report any suspicious or careless behavior that could result in more fires. The current fire weather forecast calls for the possibility of lightning again next week.