THE DALLES, Ore. — Oregon Gov. Kate Brown provided an update from The Dalles Monday morning on the wildfires burning in Oregon and the need for extreme caution during dry, hot weather.
Most of these fires are human-caused and each one of us can make a difference," she said. "Know your campfire rules ... if you're operating machinery when it's hot and dry and we're talkin' 100 degrees, please be really careful."
Brown was joined by the chief of fire protection for the Oregon Department of Forestry, Doug Graf, who said crews have been relatively lucky so far this fire season, but there's potential over the next few days for more fires and harder conditions for firefighters.
"The last 48 hours of lightning conditions across the state have ignited well over 100 fires," Graf said. "Initial attack resources have been aggressive and successful on most of those fires."
But "the next 48 hours of lightning potential and high winds will continue to threaten and push the existing containment lines and put more fire on the landscape," Graf said.
Mariana Reese Temple of the state fire marshal's office addressed a first for this fire season: Crews trying to fight the fires are also working to mitigate the spread of COVID-19.
She said fire crews are spread out to maintain social distancing, they're always wearing masks when there's potential for coming into contact with one another, and they've started using COVID modules to monitor firefighters. She said each crew will have a health liaison and two EMTs available to monitor for the coronavirus.
And fire camps are now restricted to personnel only in order to lower the risk to a community when firefighters travel in to help out.
Firefighters over the weekend made progress containing the Mosier Creek Fire in the Columbia River Gorge and the Juniper Ridge Fire north of Bend.
But there were still at least three other wildfires burning throughout the state Monday morning.
The Mosier Creek Fire as of Sunday evening was 45% contained, at 985 acres. More than 500 homes remain under evacuation, and the fire threatens more than 650 total structures.
The fire was caused by humans, according to officials.
In Bend, several homes were evacuated Saturday evening due to the Juniper Ridge Fire. But officials there said the fire's forward progress was stopped within hours. Evacuation orders were lifted by 9:20 p.m.
On Sunday, fire officials said that fire was caused by a motor home's "hot engine/exhaust in contact with grass and brush."
The largest fire burning in Oregon is the lightning-caused Neals Hill fire, about 20-25 miles southeast of Princeton. It has burned nearly 3,400 acres and is 95% contained.
In Southern Oregon the Crane Fire near Lakeview has burned 1,900 acres so far and the Ben Young Fire in the Fremont National Forest has burned more than 1,200 acres. The Matlock Fire south of Pendleton has burned about 85 acres.