Oregon Wildfire Now Largest In A Century

Jul 13, 2012

A wildfire burning in southeastern Oregon has become the state’s largest blaze in more than a century. The Long Draw Fire has burned more than 800 square miles in southeast Oregon.

Mike Whalen is a Fire Management Strategist with the Bureau of Land Managment in Nevada. He says the Oregon-Nevada border received no snowpack this winter. And that led to tinderbox conditions that allowed the fire to grow quickly.

Whalen: “We have sagebrush in this country right now. You could call it dead and it doesn’t know it. The leaves are starting to curve on the sagebrush. It just has no moisture at all.”

Whalen says that 40 mile-an-hour winds helped the fire grow.

“It’s like opening the flume on a woodstove when you got a good hot fire going in it.”

The fire is currently 50 percent contained, and moving east toward the Owahyee River. Crews are trying to prevent the fire from jumping the river. If it does, it could threaten homes and ranches in the Jordan Valley.

Copyright 2012 Northwest News Network

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