Ranch families flee wildfire in Oregon

PORTLAND — Buildings have burned, but there are no reports of injuries from a wildfire that was touched off by lightning along the Oregon-California border and led to the evacuation of ranch families east of Ashland, a fire spokesman says.

Air crews over the fire reported the damage Thursday, but they couldn’t tell whether it was homes, barns or other outbuildings, said Brian Ballou of the Oregon Department of Forestry.

A team of firefighters planned to check along a sparsely populated mountainous road Friday “to inventory what’s still standing and what’s burned,” he said.

There was no estimate of how many people fled. “It’s not a whole lot of people because not a whole lot of people live out there,” Ballou said.

The Oregon Gulch fire was reported in an area of 6,300 acres, or nearly 10 square miles.

It erupted from about 10 acres in the Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument on Thursday amid swirling winds and dry conditions.

Ballou said Friday that the wind died down a bit overnight, and firefighters made progress on containment lines.

Those evacuated live along Copco Road, which leads south from Oregon 66, known as the Green Springs highway. It links Ashland and Klamath Falls. The fire location is north of the Copco dam and reservoir in California.

More than 2,000 lightning strikes in the region Wednesday touched off dozens of fires.

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