Lightning strikes ignited more than a dozen fires in the John Day Interagency Dispatch region Aug. 4-5. About 200 acres of new fires initially were reported, and most were contained and controlled by the second day.

Half a dozen fires that started in the Heppner Ranger District of the Umatilla National Forest about 15 miles north of Monument were administratively combined into the HK Complex fire.

The HK Complex has grown from 185 total acres on Aug. 5 to 2,455 by Aug. 8 with 13 individual fires. The largest fire covers about 125 acres of grass, brush and timber. Eight of the fires in the complex were 100% contained by Aug. 8.

A Type 3 incident management team from John Day took over the complex on Aug. 6, but with torching, spotting and active running, a Type 2 team will take over Aug. 8.

Initial resources on the scene included a 20-person Hotshot crew, nine 20-person hand crews, 15 engines and one skidgeon. Crews, which increased to about 474 by Aug. 8, continued to construct fire lines where terrain and fuels allowed safe work. Aircraft were being used to slow fire spread and to cool hot spots within the fire perimeter.

The Heppner Ranger District reported 12 new fires by Aug. 6, including the 49.2-acre Rocky Flats fire, which was burning grass, timber and juniper about 13 miles northeast of Spray. By Aug. 7, the fire was 100% lined at about 49 acres.

The 2-acre Wolf Springs fire about 5 miles west of Ukiah was reported by the Umatilla Forest's North Fork John Day Ranger District on Aug. 5. Initial attack resources were assigned to the fire and began constructing fire lines Aug. 6.

The Hog Creek fire about 20 miles west of Dale was burning on 80 acres on Aug. 6. Resources were dispatched to the site. The 125-acre Little Bear fire was also burning about 20 miles west of Dale.

The 4.8-acre Indian Hollow fire, burning grass, brush and juniper on private land near Parish Creek about 6 miles south of Spray, was contained and controlled by Oregon Department of Forestry crews on Aug. 5.

The Slide Creek fire, a 0.1-acre grass and brush fire on private land 6-7 miles southwest of Mitchell, was contained and controlled by ODF crews on Aug. 5.

ODF responded to the Matlock fire about 12 miles west-southwest of Ukiah on Aug. 6. The 7.1-acre fire was burning grass and timber.

ODF crews contained the No Name Creek fire about 10 miles west-southwest of Ukiah on Aug. 6. The 0.25-acre fire burned grass and timber.

The state crews responded and contained the 0.1-acre Borden Gulch fire in the Wind Creek drainage 5 miles north of Sumpter on Aug. 5.

Fire officials remind the pubic that the current fire danger rating remains at "high" and public-use restrictions involving chainsaw use are in effect.

The forecast for the next few days is not good for wildfires. There is a 30% chance of showers and thunderstorms between 11 a.m. and 11 p.m. on Aug. 7. No strong winds are forecast.

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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