Dry, windy conditions aid Oregon wildfires

Wildfires

The fires are in rural, remote areas

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — The Oregon Department of Forestry and its partners worked to contain fires in rural forested areas as windy conditions and low humidity gripped the state.

Twenty-two fires were reported across the Willamette Valley in the last 24 hours, ODF said Wednesday. Officials said most of the fires were likely caused by prescribed burns rekindled by the wind.

“What we’ve seen with the recent fire activity that we’ve had are rekindled burns that have burned several weeks ago that have come back to life that people thought were out or contained,” said Tom Fields, the fire prevention coordinator with the Oregon Department of Forestry.

Eastern winds were fanning 2 hotspots: the 25-acre Crankshaft Fire located about 6 miles south of Gates and the 20-acre Gopher Valley Fire located 5 miles north of Sheridan.

Fire crews were mopping up two somewhat larger fires in rural Northwest Oregon: the 80-acre North Fork Fire is 16 miles east of Molalla and the 50-acre Detroit Dam Fire is about 5 miles west of Detroit Lake.

No homes or businesses were threatened by the fires and no injuries were reported.

The Coos Forest Protective Association responded to four fires since Sunday, one of which the agency says was powerline related.

Firefighters in Lane County have brought two fires that started Tuesday under control.

Firefighters also contained a small blaze near Eagle Point Tuesday. Firefighters continue to work a small fire in Josephine County that started Saturday.

It’s well outside of fire season but forestry officials said it’s fairly common to see fires of this nature this time of year because of the low humidity, seasonal winds and dry conditions.

Fire officials reminded the public to be extra careful while the weather remains dry and windy. Backyard burning is currently banned in Clackamas County.

“The increased wind just poses and it causes neighbors to get concerned and certainly us as firefighters to be concerned, of course,” said Clackamas Fire District 1 Captain Brandon Paxton. “We are asking people to be fire-wise about this whole thing.”

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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