Environment | News | Local

Fire Burns 20,000 Acres On Warm Springs Reservation

OPB | July 22, 2013 2:26 p.m. | Updated: Aug. 7, 2013 7:29 a.m. | Warm Springs, Oregon

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In Central Oregon a large wildfire continues to burn on the Warm Springs Indian Reservation. The Sunny Side turnoff fire has burned more than 20,000 acres, and is 20 percent contained.

On the road that leads out to the Kah-Nee-Ta Resort there’s a “road closed” sign stretching across both lanes. There are also trucks from various fire agencies heading to and from the fire which is just a few miles away.

One side of the road is charred, and looks a bit like burnt toast. The other side is untouched.

Fire managers are worried about both heat and wind. Those factors, along with the relatively low humidity, have so far hampered firefighters efforts to halt the growth of this fire.

Residents here are still unable to return to about 40 homes that evacuated over the weekend.

Buddy Hicks Jr. says was at home with his wife on Saturday morning when when he first saw the smoke.

“There was just a little pillar of smoke coming up from a… it looked like an old extinct volcano bowl up there.  And that’s all it was.  And then we went and sat in our house in the air conditioning for a few hours and came back out and the whole thing’s burning up,” Hicks said.

Monday, fire managers reinforced fire lines protecting those and other houses. They’re also growing increasingly concerned about timber stands to the north.

Forecasters are predicting thunder storms could move into the region on Wednesday and with that could come the possibility of new fires.

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