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Lightning strikes spark Oregon wildfires

Much of Oregon is under a Red Flag warning, as hot dry weather keeps the state at high risk for wildfires.
By Frances Burns   |   July 14, 2014 at 4:30 PM   |   Comments

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PORTLAND, Ore., July 14 (UPI) -- Thousands of lightning strikes in Oregon sparked dozens of wildfires, including one that has destroyed several homes, fire officials said.

The Moccasin Hill Fire, 45 miles from Klamath in southwestern Oregon, started at about 2 p.m. Sunday and had spread to almost 3,000 acres by Monday morning. Several buildings were torched by the fire and about 100 people were driven from their homes.

Like California and Washington State, Oregon is in the midst of a long spell of hot dry weather. While Sunday's storms brought temperatures down a little, they were expected to rise again.

The Central Oregon Interagency Dispatch Center reported 3,000 lightning strikes Sunday afternoon with about 65 smoke reports. Warm Springs Fire Management said there were about 1,000 strikes on the Warm Springs Indian Reservation with about 30 fires.

Most of the blazes were small. But one on the Warm Springs reservation spread to 168 acres, and another, the White River Fire, was at 570 acres Monday, 15 miles west of Maupin.

Much of the state is under a Red Flag warning because of hot dry conditions.

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