Monday's lightning storms are blamed for starting a number of wildfires in the Malheur, Wallowa-Whitman and Umatilla national forests and Bureau of Land Management lands.

The largest of the fires is the 54-acre Conger Fire located northwest of Long Creek and south of Ritter. The fire is burning grass, pine, juniper and sagebrush.

The fire, which was detected around 9:15 a.m. on July 22, was 60% lined as of 2 a.m. the next day. Single-engine aerial tankers, helicopters, fire engines and three hand crews had been assigned to the fire, with bulldozers working through the night.

The Perry Fire, which was detected around 9 a.m. on July 22, burned about a tenth of an acre of grassland about 3.9 miles east of Monument. It was contained by 2 p.m. the same day.

The Angel Gulch Fire, which was detected around 9:10  a.m. July 20, burned about three-tenths of an acre of grass and brush about 2.3 miles south of Mt. Vernon. The fire was contained by 11 a.m.

The forecast calls for a 20% chance of thunder storms over the next few days.

In the Umatilla National Forest, the Bull Fire, located near Bull Prairie Lake north of Spray, was reported July 22 at 4:39 p.m. The 4-acre fire is burning in a combination of mixed conifer and open pine fuels, with torching and spotting.

A helicopter aided suppression efforts by dropping water to cool hot spots. Firefighters planned July 23 to construct and improve control lines and secure the perimeter to reduce the risk of the fire moving outside perimeter lines.

Resources at the Bull Fire included three Forest Service engines, two Oregon Department of Forestry engines and an ODF bulldozer.

Firefighters were able to 100% line the 5-acre Cabin Creek Fire, which is about 1.5 miles north of Rocky Flat on the Umatilla National Forest. Crews from the Heppner Ranger District and an ODF engine will focus on mop up and securing containment lines July 23.

In Malheur County, Vale Bureau of Land Management Fire responded to at least six wildfires started by lightning during the night on July 22. Eight engines were dispatched and aircraft were sent to assess the location and size of each fire.

Jordan Valley, Blue Mountain and Vale Rural Fire Protection Associations are assisting with response, and the Wallowa-Whitman National Forest is sending additional resources to aid the suppression effort.

Richard Hanners is a reporter for the Blue Mountain Eagle. He can be contacted at or 541-575-0710.


Richard Hanners is a reporter for the Blue Mountain Eagle. He can be contacted at or 541-575-0710.

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