Two fires erupt along Hwy. 26 in Madras

Cause under investigation

POSTED: 9:08 PM PDT July 28, 2013    UPDATED: 12:36 PM PDT July 29, 2013 
Madras fire Linda Warren Larson 1
MADRAS, Ore. -

Two fires broke out along Highway 26 on the hill entering Madras to the north Sunday afternoon, sending up thick, black smoke and burning an outbuilding before firefighters were able to corral it, authorities said.

The fire was reported around 1:30 p.m. on the hill between Highways 26 and 97, said Jefferson County sheriff's Deputy Jason Pollock.

Jefferson County Fire Chief Brian Huff said the fire took about two hours to control and burned about 10 acres in total, and the cause is still under investigation.

Pollock said the fire forced evacuations of only a couple homes and closure of one of the three lanes of Highway 26, but that it remained open.

Central Oregon Structural Protection Task Force 3 was activated as crews battled the blaze, which Pollock said was "hopping place to place" due to the winds and for a time sent up thick smoke visible for miles.

A threatened vacant former "rock shop," as it's known to locals, was saved and only an old outbuilding was destroyed by the fire, Huff said.