With hot weather at hand and a forecast for more of the same, Central Oregon fire crews tackled some new blazes Saturday and contained older ones that broke out in recent days.
A wildfire was reported around 2:30 p.m. four miles southeast of Sisters, and burned a half-acre of scattered brush and pine, according to the Central Oregon Interagency Dispatch Center in Prineville.
A five-person crew using a water tender was able to get a quick handle on the low-intensity fire and had it 100 percent lined and 75 percent mopped up by Saturday evening, officials said. The cause of the fire was under investigation.
Meanwhile, COIDC sent a battalion chief and a BLM engine to help make sure a shop fire in the 4900 block of NE O'Neil Way east of Redmond did not spread to surrounding areas, officials said.
The Kipuka fire south of Lava Butte has "burned itself out," although puffs of smoke are likely to be seen over the next few days as any remaining unburned vegetation also is consumed, said Lisa Clark of COIDC.
Crews also declared full containment of the 3,078-acre Camp Creek Fire that broke out Thursday on rangeland south of Antelope, Clark said.
South of the High Desert, a new, 60-acre fire was battled about six miles north of Klamath Falls and prompted intermittent closure of Highway 97.
More than 200 firefighters were called out to battle the Algoma Fire, which burned on private land in grass, sagebrush and juniper. Four homes in the area were threatened but not in imminent danger, though one was evacuated as a precaution, officials said Saturday afternoon.
A containment line was in place around that fire by Saturday evening, but crews will be patrolling through the night, said spokeswoman Lucinda Nolan of the South Central Oregon Fire Management Partnership.
"We made good progress today," Nolan said, adding that Highway 97 was open, with no delays expected overnight.
A shift in wind and weather conditions sent smoke billowing north into Bend Friday morning from the Kipuka Fire that burned a 26-acre island of vegetation surrounded by lava rock near Lava Butte.
Dozens of residents called Deschutes County dispatchers or posted worried notes to NewsChannel 21's Facebook page inquiring about the source of the smoke.
Crews working on the holiday kept building and firming up containment lines as the Camp Creek Fire moved south. There are scattered homes in the area, many of whose residents were helping stop the fire's spread, Clark said.
Central Oregon firefighters found and doused eight more small lightning-sparked fires Thursday, bringing the two-day total to 29 after a double-barreled shot of thunderstorms rumbled through, hitting the region with more than 3,000 lightning strikes.
On the Kipuka Fire, officials said they were letting the low-intensity blaze burn through downed wood, duff and needles.
Although Wednesday's thunderstorms brought rain to some areas, officials warn that the region remains hot and dry. They also reminded that fireworks are illegal on public lands and urged caution over the holiday weekend, making sure campfires are cold to the touch when you leave them.
Central Oregon fire lookouts will be scanning the skies for more smoke columns in the wake of this week's thunderstorms.
A National Weather Service red flag warning for storms and dangerous fire conditions took effect late Wednesday morning and was in effect until 8 p.m.