Blue Mountain wildfires: Thunderstorms cause 23 fires across NE Oregon, SE Washington

JOHN DAY, Oregon. — Fire crews in Northeast Oregon and Southeast Washington have been combatting a string of wildfires across the Blue Mountains caused by passing thunderstorms on Tuesday evening.

According to a press release issued by United States Forest Service, there have been numerous reports of smoke and fire in the wake of the thunderstorms. Of more than 40 incidents reported to the Blue Mountain Interagency Dispatch Center and John Day Interagency Dispatch Center, 23 fires have been confirmed as of Thursday morning.

Local fire teams have been hard at work responding to these incidents with aerial resources supporting their efforts. Authorities expect there to be additional smoke reports detected over the course of the next several days with warm temperatures and increased fire activity. Aerial recon teams and fire lookouts are trying to be proactive and detect these instances early.

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Fire danger is considered High to Extreme in the Blue Mountains ranges. This range spans roughly 15,000 square miles southeast of Pendleton to the Snake River and extends along the Oregon/Idaho border. This mountain range spans four counties in Washington (Walla Walla, Columbia, Garfield, and Asotin) and five counties in Oregon (Union, Umatilla, Grant, Baker, and Wallowa).

Land protected by the Oregon Department of Forestry (ODF) has been closed out of an abundance of caution and public use regulations are in effect for campfires, chainsaw use, off-roading, and smoking.

The Lovlett Corral Fire has spanned approximately 110 acres located 10 miles northwest of Monument, Oregon. The fire has been contained to the area due to ongoing efforts from local first responders.

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