Firefighters, National Guard work to control blazes across Oregon

By Ed Adamczyk Contact the Author   |   Aug. 23, 2017 at 8:54 AM
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Aug. 23 (UPI) -- A number of wildfires continue to burn across Oregon Wednesday -- the largest of which has already charred nearly 100,000 acres, fire officials said.

Of nine uncontained fires currently burning in the state, the Chetco Bar fire in south Oregon is the biggest. Started by lightning, it continues to grow -- and has displaced 300 families, officials said.

Strong winds are pushing the fire southward near protected land, and authorities say several thousand acres of protected timber are in the flames' path.

The Miller fire, burning on the California-Oregon border in the Rogue River-Siskyou National Forest, has consumed nearly 11,000 acres and is 11 percent contained. The Milli fire, near the town of Sisters, also encompasses about 11,000 acres, and residents there were also ordered to evacuate.

Forest lands about 13 miles east Detroit, Ore., have burned about 8,500 acres in the Mount Jefferson Wilderness area. Fire crews do not expect full containment on that blaze until October, The Oregonian reported Wednesday.

Other fires are burning tens of thousands of acres, with nearby residents given a Level 1 -- or "prepare to evacuate" -- notice.

More than 360 firefighters and other personnel, including members of the Oregon National Guard, are working to contain the fires, the state's Department of Forestry said.

Most of the fires were started by lightning, and several areas -- including the Umpqua National Forest and in the Diamond Lake and Glide areas -- have air quality regarded as "unhealthy for sensitive groups."

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