Winds push Oregon wildfire

PORTLAND, Ore. — An Eastern Oregon fire near the Owyhee Dam and reservoir got active Wednesday in windy weather.

The fire burned intensely on its eastern flank, and fire crews again closed a road popular with recreational users of the Owyhee Canyon, fire spokeswoman Virginia Gibbons said.

Flames could threaten some cabins and a state parks building, but they weren’t in immediate danger, she said.

The Owyhee Fire is burning in an area of nearly 45,000 acres, or about 70 square miles.

So far, no injuries have been reported, and authorities say there’s no immediate threat to power lines from the hydropower facilities.

Fire officials said crews totaling about 240 people were on the fire Wednesday. Cooler weather but higher winds that could push the flames were expected.

Workers at the Owyhee Irrigation District said it hadn’t damaged their equipment or facilities, but there were flames across the river from the district’s compound below the dam.

Buffers were put around poles carrying a power line from the hydro generators at the dam to a connection with Idaho Power lines, the district’s manager, Jay Chamberlain, told the Ontario Argus Observer.

He said the fire isn’t leaving behind much vegetation.

“This was a real hot fire,” he said. “It’s nuked the ground.”

Farther south in Malheur County, firefighters expect by Friday to contain three fires totaling 12,000 acres.

In western Malheur County, the Curry Canyon Fire north of Juntura was put at 2,800 acres and containment was expected Wednesday.

The newest large fire, the Shumway fire, was started Tuesday by lightning in grass and brush 12 miles southeast of Juntura.

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