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Central Oregon is on Fire!


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A plume of smoke in Warm Springs yesterday.
  • A plume of smoke in Warm Springs yesterday.

That haze over Pilot Butte? That tingle in your eyes and nose? The clouds visible north of town, and now south? Two separate human- caused wildfires are blazing through Central Oregon and neither are well contained.

The Sunnyside Turnoff Fire started mid-morning Saturday near Warm Springs. It's consumed 22,320 acres, is only 20% contained, and isn't expected to be fully controlled until Sunday. We sent a writer to the scene yesterday and she's reported back that, despite the large blaze and a number of evacuations, both community members and wildland firefighters seem calm and almost nonchalant. Everyone in the area in preparing for a long fight—perhaps longer than the predicated Sunday containment date. A tribal member told our reporter that a couple houses had already succumbed to flames near the Warm Springs national fish hatchery. With steep terrain, low humidity (currently 12%), high winds, and temps in the mid-90s, fire-fighting efforts may prove extremely challenging.

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