Crews begin containment work on remote Oregon wildfires


IMNAHA, Ore. (AP) — About 300 firefighters assisted by water tanker planes and water-dropping helicopters were building containment lines on Sunday to battle a growing wildfire in eastern Oregon that has forced the evacuation of campers, authorities said.

The Double Creek Fire near the community of Imnaha in the Hells Canyon Recreation Area grew to about 37 square miles (96 square kilometers), fueled by gusty winds on Saturday, according to the National Interagency Fire Center.

The fire prompted evacuations of campers from Imnaha south to Pallette Ranch, the Wallowa County Sheriff’s Office said. The blaze, burning over stands of conifers, grasses and shrubs, was detected on Tuesday and started by lightning.

Governor Kate Brown released a statement on Saturday authorizing the state fire marshal to take command and dispatch other agency resources to assist local firefighters. Crews were focusing Sunday on building containment lines at the southern edge of the fire and along the Imnaha River corridor.

Firefighters were monitoring two other fires caused by lightning in the nearby Eagle Cap Wilderness area. The Nebo Fire charred 11 square miles (28 square kilometers) of rugged terrain, while the Sturgill Fire had reached 13 square miles (34 square kilometers). Crews were allowing both fires to feed on dry fuel while protecting structures.

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In southwestern Oregon, officials said Sunday that firefighters had contained more than a quarter of the 30-square-mile (78-square-kilometer) Rum Creek Fire perimeter and expected further progress with cooler weather, allowing commanders to free up personnel to work on other fires.

The fire, caused by lightning on August 17, destroyed a house and two other structures.

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