Environment

Warm Weather Keeps Oregon Wildfires Burning

OPB | Aug. 16, 2007 8:07 a.m. | Updated: July 17, 2012 1:19 a.m. | Bend, OR

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By Ethan Lindsey

Oregon's daily temperatures were near record highs for the month of July, federal climate scientists say. That has helped fuel three major wildfires still burning in the state.

The worst of the country's fires are burning in Wyoming, Montana, and Idaho — this July's temperatures were the highest ever recorded for those states.

Bart Lee is a fire dispatcher with the Central Oregon Interagency Dispatch Center. Except for a couple of isolated brush fires, he says this week has been good.

Bart Lee: "It is very dry and you know it doesn't take much of any kind of ignition to get a fire to burn. But right now its fairly quiet."

Mop up work at the Trout Meadows fire near John Day could lead to 100-percent containment by Friday morning.

The Battle Creek Complex has burned 80,000 acres near Enterprise, but is 85-percent contained.

And work at the Warm Springs complex fire may be finally wrapping up as well.

The fire was very active last weekend, breaking fire lines and shooting up huge plumes, but displatchers say they expect containment by early next week.

The Warm Springs fire has been the most stubborn fire of the season, thus far. It grew to 12,000 acres since it was started by a lightning storm in early July. Total costs for that fire alone may run more than $15 million.

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