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Northwest Firefighters Spreading Out After Lightning Storms

OPB | July 17, 2013 12:06 p.m. | Updated: July 17, 2013 2:24 p.m. | Bend, Oregon

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Northwest firefighters are keeping busy today attending to roughly a dozen new fires sparked by lightning storms.

According to the Northwest Interagency Coordination Center, more than 800 lightning strikes hit Oregon between early yesterday and this morning.  Washington had more than 8,000 lightning strikes. 

“Everybody in the field is out looking for fire starts,” said Northwest Interagency Coordination Center spokeswoman, Jeree Mills. “They’ll be flying air reconnaissance.  They’ll be doing ground checks.  If it’s somewhere engines can get into, they’ll take them up the road.  If they know it’s an area that’s really dry and it’s got a history of taking off, they’ll hike people into it to take a look.”

Mills expects more fires will be reported as the day goes on.

Meanwhile, the Box Springs Fire, has burned more than 500 acres of timber and brush northeast of Prineville.  Lightning sparked that blaze over the weekend.  As of this morning, the fire is 50% contained. 

Forecasters are predicting more lightning in Washington today.  Far Northeast Oregon could see some lightning activity, as well. 

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