Firefighters responded to six new wildfires yesterday, with two growing larger:
The Grange Hall Fire is burning about 2 miles northeast of Clarno on the east side of the John Day River. The fire grew quickly to 100 acres before rain slowed its progress. Crews will continue to mop up and hold the line on this fire today, and the cause is under investigation.
The Sheep Mountain Fire is currently about 150 acres and is burning in a remote part of Wheeler County, about 10 miles west of Mitchell and 3 miles SW of the John Day Fossil Bed National Monument – Painted Hills Unit. The BLM is in unified command with the Wheeler County Rural Fire Protection Association for suppression of this fire. Steep slopes and limited access will challenge suppression efforts today, and crews plan to use helicopters for both bucket drops as well as shuttling firefighters to the line. The Painted Hills remain open; however, there could be increased traffic in the area due to the fire.
The Red Flag Warning for abundant lightning and gusty winds has been extended through Saturday afternoon. Although some rain is predicted with the storms, continued hot and dry conditions in August could allow light night hold-over fires to flare up days or weeks later.