▶️ Human-caused fires in Central Oregon have doubled compared to last summer

By BROOKE SNAVELY
CENTRAL OREGON DAILY

Fire weather warnings and watches have expired, but crews are still responding to fires that started during lightning storms earlier this week.

The number of human-caused fires has more than doubled compared to last summer.

Crews are making progress on the Day Basin fire southeast of John Day, according to Central Oregon Interagency Dispatch.

It is believed to have started by lightning Tuesday night when more than 100 lightning-caused fires broke out. Most of the fires were held at less than a quarter of an acre.

The Day Basin fire is now 25% contained at 41 acres.

The other large incident in Central Oregon is the Pucker Hill Fire about 12 miles northeast of Millican in the Maury Mountain foothills.

The Pucker Hill Fire has grown from 30 to more than 270 acres since it was reported Tuesday night.

It is burning through juniper, grass and shrubs near the McCormack Ranch southeast of Prineville. So far no structures have been threatened or damaged.

Prineville District BLM helicopters, engines and crews are responding along with the Brothers-Hampton Rural Fire Protection Association to help private property owners control it. They are battling high heat, low humidity and rugged terrain.

To date, 47 lightning-caused fires have burned about 300 acres in the Central Oregon Interagency Dispatch area.

At the same time, the 157 human-caused fires in Central Oregon thus far this summer have scorched more than 2,700 acres of land.

A lot of that went up in flames during three fires on July 5, July 8 and July 18 near La Pine that were believed to be arson.

There has also been human-caused fires uncomfortably close to town including one next to Trader Joe’s in Bend on July 13, and another on July 29 near the Riverhouse Convention Center.

On public lands, all fires outside designated metal campfire rings are banned at this time, including charcoal barbecues and fireworks.

Right now the only place campfires are allowed is in metal fire rings at developed campsites. Even in a designated fire ring: don’t head out until it’s dead out.

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