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NE Oregon field fire races 5 miles; no homes lost

Published on NewsOK Modified: July 17, 2014 at 4:28 am •  Published: July 17, 2014
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GRANTS PASS, Ore. (AP) — A highway through the Ochoco Mountains of central Oregon remains closed by a wildfire, but the threat to about 10 scattered homes and ranches eased.

Fire officials said Wednesday the Bailey Butte fire — part of the Waterman Complex — had burned more than 2,000 acres west of Mitchell and was moving south into the Ochoco National Forest.

A stretch of U.S. Highway 26 remained closed west of Mitchell, but the evacuation notice for homes along West Branch Road was dropped to the lowest level.

Two other fires near Service Creek and Kimberly brought the Waterman Complex to more than 4,000 acres. The three fires started from lightning strikes on Friday and were burning in timber, grass and brush. They were expected to grow in the hot and windy weather.

Elsewhere, a fire that started in a northeast Oregon field west of Heppner raced quickly across as much as 20,000 acres, or some 30 square miles, before firefighters from two counties got it stopped, the Morrow County sheriff's office said.

Undersheriff Steven Myren said no homes or other structures were lost Wednesday although he says the fire "did get uncomfortably close to some." Some power poles and phone lines were damaged.

Early estimates put the area burned at between 15,000 and 20,000 acres, Myren said.

The fire raced nearly five miles through standing wheat and other fuels.

The cause is under investigation.

A wildfire that broke out Sunday in an off-the-grid subdivision near the Klamath County community of Sprague River was more destructive than authorities initially believed.

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