REDMOND, Ore. - (Update: New lightning count)
Firefighters spent Wednesday afternoon chasing several new starts ignited by lightning from thunderstorms that passed through Central Oregon, stopping the blazes at small size.
By nightfall, firefighters had responded to and contained nine new fires, all under a half-acre, according to the Central Oregon Interagency Dispatch Center.
They also provided assistance on a fire that started at the Willamette Pass ski area on the Willamette National Forest and assisted Bend Fire with an incident.
About 150 lightning strikes were recorded in Central Oregon Wednesday and the National Weather Service issued a Red Flag Warning for “abundant lightning and gusty winds” that remained in effect until 11 p.m.
As we reach the peak of fire season, fire officials want to remind the public that hot and dry weather conditions have created extreme fire conditions throughout Central Oregon. Fire restrictions are now in place on public lands, limiting campfires to only designated campgrounds. The public is asked to avoid driving or parking over dry grass.
Fireworks and exploding targets are always illegal on public lands, officials said.