Photo contributed by John Fiedor
JOHN DAY – Local fire crews are working at least five new wildfires sparked by lightning Tuesday night as an intense storm swept through Grant County and the region.
The area is under a red flag warning through Saturday, Aug. 2, for more lightning storms and fire weather conditions.
The Malheur National Forest reported the local Type 3 Incident Management Team, led by Chris Cook, was working on fires near Dayville and Spray.
This morning’s update on the fire operations:
• Three fires sparked near Dayville include the Troop Fire, which reached 250 acres about three miles north of town.
Another fire two miles southwest of town was lined at 16 acres, according to Oregon Department of Forestry.
Ground crews on the Dayville fires were aided by at least one helicopter and a single-engine air tanker Tuesday evening.
An incident command post is being set up in Dayville.
• The Steet Fire, six miles northeast of Monument, is burning in grass, brush and juniper in steep terrain. It was listed at 100 acres this morning.
• The Haystack Fire spread to 800 acres in grass and juniper northeast of Spray. Crews made progress on dozer lines overnight.
ODF reported that 700 lightning strikes hit the Central Oregon region overnight, sparking some 30 fires, mostly small.
One fire five miles west of Condon has grown to 1,000 acres, and is burning uncontained.
The National Weather Service is predicting a mix of wet and dry thunderstorms with abundant lightning through the week. The forecast notes the combinations of frequent lightning and dry fuels pose the possibility of numerous fire starts.
The red flag warning is in effect for the east slopes of the Cascades, the Southern and Central Blue Mountains, and the Strawberry Mountains.