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.