Crews ready for summer wildfire season in Oregon - KPTV - FOX 12

Crews ready for summer wildfire season in Oregon

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Fire crews across the region are already busy as temperatures warm up and fuels on the ground continue to dry out.

Right now, the largest fire in the state is the Mecca Fire burning on the Warm Springs Reservation. Sparked by a blown transformer Sunday night, the wind-whipped fire quickly spread to 2,000 acres.

“All we need is an ignition source. Once that source starts, you start putting in the other factors and we have fast-moving wildfires,” said Carol Connolly with the Northwest Interagency Coordination Center.

The NWCC works as a regional fire dispatch center, coordinating state and federal agencies to allocate firefighting resources where they’re needed the most.

Right now, more than 70 crews are on standby while engines and aerial resources are prepositioned throughout the state.

In the last few days, Connolly said one of the issues has been lightning strikes. Just since Friday, there were at least 2,200 strikes recorded in mostly southern and central Oregon.

“With that we picked up about two dozen small fires,” she said. “We also had a couple larger fires, one of which was a human-caused fire down along the Deschutes River.”

That blaze, the Oak Springs Fire, burned 375 acres. At last check, it was 90 percent contained.

Coming off of a very hot weekend, the forecast for this week may seem cool in comparison, but experts say don’t let your guard down.

“Just because it’s cool out doesn’t mean a fire can’t start and spread,” Connolly added.

Fuels across the state – especially on the east side of the Cascades – are already drying out after a very wet spring.

Remember to stay vigilant with campfires and fireworks at the Fourth of July approaches, and remember fireworks are not allowed on public lands in Oregon.

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