Fire crews busy suppressing new lightning starts

Firefighters responded to 8 new lightning-caused wildfires yesterday afternoon and another one this morning, all located across the east slopes of the Cascades on Deschutes National Forest. Eight of the nine fires are less than one acre, and six have been contained.

The largest fire, called the Tumalo Creek Fire, is currently 8 acres, and it’s producing a column of smoke that is very visible just west of Bend. The fire is located on Tam McArthur Rim, about a half mile from the Tumalo Falls Trailhead. Firefighters on the ground and firefighting aircraft held the fire to 5 acres yesterday evening, but a burning snag that rolled downhill during the night started a 3 acre spot fire below, bringing the new total to 8 acres. Fire suppression efforts continue today with more support from air tankers, engines, water tenders, and two interagency hotshot crews.

Several road closures in the immediate vicinity are in place for public and firefighter safety. Temporary closures are located on Forest Service Road 4601 at the 370 Road junction, at the junction of Forest Service Roads 370 and 380, which is the road to access Broken Top Trailhead, and on Forest Service Road 370 on the Three Creeks side.

Anyone recreating in the Happy Valley area today should also be aware there is active fire in the vicinity and the need to stay apprised of current fire activity. This includes everyone recreating on the Flagline Trail out of Dutchman Sno-Park, the North Fork Trail from the Tumalo Falls Trailhead, the Mrazek Trail, and other trails in the area.

Central Oregon remains under a Red Flag warning today and into this evening with a threat of more lightning later today. Firefighters expect to pick up more starts today and in the coming days from last night and today’s expected weather.

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