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8/23 Lightning strike update

Willamette National Forest Fire Crews Work to Keep Fires from Lightning Strikes Small

Firefighting helicopter

To date, crews have found 18 new fires from the recent lightning storm. Despite the heavy rain, fire officials expect to find numerous new fires smoldering in the woods. Crews are currently on the ground working to put out the fires while others are patrolling the forest for smokes.

“Safe aggressive initial attack is often the best suppression strategy to keep unwanted fires small and costs down,” said Sean Stafford, Willamette National Forest Fire Management Officer. “We suppress almost 98% of wildfires on initial attack.”

Most of the new fires are located in the Three Sisters and Mount Washington Wilderness. Four fires are located near Box Canyon, the mid-point of the Aufderheide Scenic Byway, and four are scattered across the Middle Fork Ranger District. All are an acre or less in size and staffed by smokejumpers or ground crews.

The two larger fires on the forest, the Hand Lake Fire and Opal Lake, have both been fully contained at nine and 20 acres, respectively.

“The Willamette National Forest is over a million acres in size, so it can sometimes take a few days to locate the new starts,” said Stafford. “We could use your help – if you see smoke in the forest, please report it.”

The fire danger for the Willamette National Forest remains at High and visitors are urged to continue caution with campfires. There are currently no fire-related closures for the public or restrictions on campfires in the Willamette National Forest. The Industrial Fire Precaution Level remains at II.

For additional information, please call the nearest Ranger District. Fire updates will also be posted on the Willamette National Forest website at and shared via Twitter at

Image above: Firefighting helicopters continue to operate out of the McKenzie Bridge Airstrip.


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