Lightning-sparked fires keep crews busy

There were 38 reports of smoke and wildfire across Central Oregon this afternoon, including a fire at Mt. Bachelor where the U.S. Forest Service sent six smoke jumpers and one helicopter with a water bucket. The fires remained small as of this afternoon, said Jean Nelson-Dean, a fire information officer at the Central Oregon Interagency Dispatch Center in Prineville.

Thunderstorms caused approximately 1,500 lightning strikes in the region by this afternoon, according to a press release from the dispatch center. Counties east of the Cascades from the southern border of Oregon to the northern border of Washington remain under a National Weather Service red flag warning for fire conditions, and the agency has extended the warning to 11 a.m. Monday.

Firefighters were still working on the Mt. Bachelor fire as of 5 p.m. The dispatch center in Prineville began to receive reports of fires in the Deschutes National Forest around 1 p.m. Then, as the storms moved northeast, lightning was observed near the Crooked River National Grasslands and Grass Valley, according to the press release. Firefighters are working on a blaze in Cow Canyon approximately 9 miles southwest of Antelope.

Lightning also hit the Ochoco National Forest around 3 p.m., especially in the Maury Mountains.