Forestry | News

Fire Crews Mobilize To Protect Central Oregon Community

OPB | Aug. 11, 2014 11:01 a.m. | Updated: Aug. 11, 2014 12:25 p.m. | Portland

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Smoke Plume From Murderers Creek Fire 08-10-2014 (file photo)

Smoke Plume From Murderers Creek Fire 08-10-2014 (file photo)

James Price

Firefighters are expecting high winds and possible thunderstorms Monday in central Oregon where the South Fork Complex fire continues to burn near John Day.

The fire has burned more than 63,000 acres and is about 30 percent contained.

Bill Queen, a spokesperson with the Pacific Northwest Team 3, says officials are preparing for thunderstorms today and tomorrow. That could bring shifting winds and lightning strikes, along with much needed rain.

“Certainly with lightning as a part of thunderstorms, it could actually start new fires outside where our fire is currently burning,” he says.

The fire is about six miles from the small town of Dayville, which crews are working to protect.

“That’s our number one priority today — is to continue to get our containment lines in there so that we can stop the progression of the fire towards Dayville,” Queen says.

Lightning started the fire on July 31. About 800 people and multiple aircraft are involved in the fight.

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