Whitewater and Rebel fires still burning out of control in Oregon Cascades

Smoke from the Whitewater Fire forms a plume near Three Fingered Jack on August 2, 2017. (USDA Forest Service)

A red flag warning for extreme fire danger has been issued by the National Weather Service due to hot, dry weather and lightning as two fires continue to burn in the Cascades east of the Willamette Valley.

The Rebel Fire has burned 900 acres near the South Fork of the McKenzie River.

The fire continues to burn out of control.

Farther north near Mount Jefferson, the Whitewater Fire has burned across more than 5,500 acres.

Firefighters themselves are responsible for some of that growth: An increase in acreage on Wednesday resulted from strategic firing operations that helped to manage the fire’s intensity and secure fire lines, fire managers said in a briefing.

Firefighters will continue to conduct a series of firing operations in both locations, attempting to methodically and strategically manage the fire’s rate of spread and intensity.

Lightning likely sparked both fires, managers aid. The fires have grown, fueled by dry vegetation and driven by gusty winds.

Officials have closed Road 19 near the Rebel Fire, from Cougar Crossing to Roaring Ridge Trailhead.

The road will remain closed indefinitely.

All campers are being notified to stay clear of the area, for air quality is at a severe level.

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