MCKENZIE BRIDGE, Oregon (STPNS) -- Last Wednesday’s red flag warning issued by the National Weather Service resulted a lightning storm that passed over the southern and central portions of the Willamette National Forest, igniting numerous small fires.
Fifteen ‘smoke reports’ were called into the Eugene Interagency that night; the majority of which were located in the Three Sisters Wilderness. Eight smokejumpers worked on a fire near Sims Butte.
The next day warmer and drier weather over the West Cascades caused the fires from lightning strikes to put up more smoke, making them more easily visible to surveillance aircraft. Thirteen active fires were spotted in the Three Sisters Wilderness, one small fire near Waldo Lake, the 19 acre Opal Lake fire on the flanks of Diamond Peak, and the Landes Creek Fire SE of Hills Creek Reservoir.
By Sunday, crews had been successful in suppressing many of the small fires in the Three Sisters Wilderness. Likewise, the Landes Creek and Opal Lake fires on the Middle Fork Ranger District have not grown and fire behavior is low. The current weather forecast for the Willamette National Forest is for hot and dry weather, and the chance of lightning storms has been pushed back until late in the week.
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