Thunderstorms spark fires across Central Oregon

SISTERS, Ore. - Lightning lit up Central Oregon this week, sparking dozens of fires including a large grass fire that may pose a danger to home.

The Sniption fire, a wind-driven grass fire between Condon and Fossil, has grown to more than 18,000 acres, according to the Central Oregon Interagency Fire Dispatch. The fire is reportedly threatening homes.

Thunderstorms sprayed lightning across Oregon on Tuesday and again Wednesday.

And there's more to come.

The National Weather Service in Pendleton has issued a Red Flag Warning for thunderstorms producing abundant lightning, in effect through 11 p.m. Saturday, August 2, with daily lightning activity expected.

Wednesday evening's storms delivered heavy lightning across the Deschutes National Forest.

The Sisters area alone received hundreds of lightning strikes.

Fire crews spent Thursday morning responding to six new lightning starts in the Sisters area. All of the fires are very small and crews continue to aggressively suppress them, according to the Central Oregon Interagency Fire Dispatch.

Another start on the southwest slope of Mt. Bachelor is a half-acre in size and continues to put up smoke up into the air. Smokejumpers dropped in on that fire and report good progress.

A fire discovered Wednesday four miles northeast of Crane Prairie Reservoir is estimated at 20 acres. In all, crews have responded to more than 20 lightning starts within a 10-mile radius of Crane Prairie Reservoir, most of them less than a quarter-acre.