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Lightning Sparks New Fires In Eastern Oregon

The number of acres burning in Eastern Oregon has increased by a factor of ten after lightning storms that passed through the region late Monday. 

The largest of those fires has burned more than 30,000 acres near the Owyhee Dam in Eastern Malheur County. 

Tim Johnson is a fire information officer with the Bureau of Land Management.  He says the fire didn’t get started until some time after 9 p.m. Johnson says it isn’t threatening any homes, but it did force the evacuation of a number of campers in the area. 

“The fact that it jumped from essentially zero to 30,000 (acres) in a space of 12 hours means that this is a very serious fire,” said Johnson.

Johnson says high temperatures, dry fuels and somewhat erratic winds continue to challenge firefighters.  They’re working on the Owyhee fire and three other large fires burning in the state.

One of those, the Curry Canyon fire, has burned more than 4,500 acres about an hour east of Burns. As of Tuesday morning, fire managers say that blaze is about 25 percent contained.

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