Wildfire season starts with 3 blazes in Central Oregon

Graham Fire photo from Darren Verbout

Wildfire season in Oregon is underway after a lightning storm sparked at least two of three fires that are now burning in the central part of the state.

Residents in the Three Rivers Subdivision near the Graham Fire are under a Level 3 GO evacuation order, and the Boxcar Fire south of Maupin is threatening several homes. At this point, only campers near the Boxcar fire have been evacuated.

The Jack Knife fire near Kent, Oregon is burning about 1,000 acres and threatening several buildings.

Below are more details on each fire from Central Oregon Interagency Dispatch:

Boxcar Fire

The Boxcar Fire, which started three miles south of Maupin is now estimated to be 23,000 acres and 10 percent contained. It's burning mostly in brush and grass. The fire has jumped Bakeoven Canyon and is threatening homes. A Dozer line has been put in on the top of canyon protecting recreation areas along the Deschutes River.

Campers have been asked to leave four campgrounds (Wapinita, Harpham Flat, Longbend, and Devil's Canyon). At this time, rafters can still access Harpham Flat to launch boats into the river, but depending on wind direction people need to be prepared to leave the area if necessary.

Highway 197 from the junction with Highway 97 is closed up to Maupin.

Graham Fire

The Graham Fire, four miles south of the Metolius River arm of Lake Billy Chinook, near Culver, Oregon, is burning primarily on private land protected by the Oregon Department of Forestry and Lake Chinook Fire and Rescue. The fire is still estimated to be 2,000 acres and 50% contained. Several homes are threatened in the Three Rivers Subdivision and a Level 3 (GO) is still in place by the Jefferson County Sheriff's Department.

People still can access the Forest Service's Monty and Perry South campgrounds on the Metolius arm if they come from Camp Sherman along the Metolius River rather than from coming through Culver and Lake Billy Chinook.

Jack Knife

The Jack Knife Fire was reported late Friday morning and is burning three miles west of the John Day River and five miles northeast of Kent, Oregon. The approximately 1,000 acre fire is burning in grass and brush, and aerial resources are helping with the fire along with three engines, three smokejumpers and a 20-person crew. There are several structures, primarily outbuildings, threatened.

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