BEND, OR -- Central Oregon's wildland fire season got underway in earnest, this week, with three incidents caused by recent storms. The Cottonwood Fire near Dayville was contained to 50 acres, and two 20-acre fires were suppressed near the Painted Hills and the John Day River. Other fires were held at two acres or less.
Kassidy Kern, with the Deschutes National Forest, says the local fire hazard level was raised to 'High,' meaning conditions are dry and fuels can easily ignite. And a lightning-caused fire can flare up, days after a strike, "That lightning can hold over and smoke and smolder, and keep itself going. We are going to see higher temperatures in the coming seven to 10 days, and that will give those lightning holdovers a chance to maybe start cooking a little bit. So, we're going to be really vigilant in this next couple of weeks." She says some of those areas to be monitored are in the Sisters High country and near Prineville.
And, Kern tells KBND News, that vigilance and care should also extend to visitors to the forest, "We're coming up on a big holiday here where all of us are enjoying our public lands and maybe getting out. Just be ever mindful and diligent about your ignition sources. We're getting into that place where, with the high fire danger, we would anticipate more ignitions."
She also reminds everyone that even the possession of fireworks on public lands is illegal.