It seems that hot and dry Central Oregon has not been able to avoid wildfires breaking out as have plagued California. Central Oregon Fire Management Service responded to 46 new fires Friday, several growing large in the hot, dry conditions, and threatening several campgrounds, reported KTVZ News.
(Update: Hwy. 26 reopens; campgrounds under Level 2, 1 alerts; Warm Springs fire at 2,000 acres; new 4,000-acre fire in Gilliam County declared conflagration.)
Numerous lightning-sparked wildfires broke out across Central Oregon Friday, one prompting Level 2 pre-evacuation alerts for several campgrounds and another prompting closure of Highway 26 south of Madras for several hours.
Jefferson County Undersheriff Marc Heckathorn issued an alert around 7:30 p.m. Friday that the Spring Creek Fire near Haystack Reservoir prompted a Level 2 (Get Set) evacuation alert.
Heckathorn said the fire was burning near the Perry South Campground and Street Creek; Central Oregon fire officials said it was at 15 acres at last report Friday night.
The Perry South and Monty campgrounds were placed under a Level 1 (Get Ready) evacuation notice, along with all homes and properties along the Metolius arm of Lake Billy Chinook near Street Creek between the two campgrounds.
Around 8:30 p.m., Heckathorn said in an update that two fires in the area had “calmed down but Haystack Reservoir Campground would remain at a Level 2 notice and others at a Level 1 through the night.
“Both fires will be evaluated tomorrow, but we have made it through the worst part,” Heckathorn said.
Central Oregon firefighters scrambled to attack several large new wildfires in the wake of hundreds of lightning strikes across the region, including a 1,000-acre blaze on the Crooked River National Grassland that closed Highway 26 south of Madras.
ODOT’s TripCheck page urged motorists to avoid the area of the Mile Post 6 Fire, though it said a detour was in place on Dover Lane. ODOT said around 7 p.m. that an eight-mile stretch of the highway between Madras and Prineville was closed. It reopened shortly before 9:30 p.m.