SE Oregon range wildfires burn nearly 90,000 acres

Buzzard Complex spreads east; barn lost, evacuation notices

HINES, Ore. - The Buzzard Complex of range fires in southeast Oregon approached 90,000 acres by late Tuesday, with significant burning activity throughout the day and well into the evening, officials said.

Here's the rest of the Tuesday night update about the fires, which were spreading east from Harney into Malheur counties:

At least two fires merged together in the southern portion of the complex, spreading several miles east toward the Crowley-Riverside Road/Dowell Reservoir area. 

In the northern portion of the complex, more fires merged together and spread south toward Crane-Venator Lane and east toward the sparse community of Riverside.

Difficult terrain, combined with extremely dry fuels and hot and windy conditions gave firefighters a steady challenge.

 Livestock, private property, several ranches, outbuildings, sage grouse habitat and agriculture lands were threatened throughout the day. 

At last report, one barn was lost early Tuesday evening. 

Heavy air tankers, single engine air tankers, helicopters, fire engines, hand crews, bulldozers and other equipment were on scene all day and will work around the clock to protect residences and limit fire spread as much as possible. 

A Type 2 Oregon Incident Management Team 4 (Brian Watts, Incident Commander) has been assigned to manage the Buzzard Complex and assumed operations Tuesday evening.  The firefighter base camp and Incident Command Post is located at the Crane High School. 

Size:  Approaching 90,000 acres (includes all fires with the Buzzard complex)

Closures/evacuation notices

-       Evacuation notices were issued to residents in the Crowley –Riverside Road, Crane-Venator Lane, and Riverside areas throughout the day.

-       Evacuation notices for those immediately affected near Highway 78 south of Crane have been lifted and Highway 78 is open all the way through at this time. 

-       All access roads into Warm Springs Reservoir remain closed until further notice.  This includes entrances off Highway 20 East, off the Stinkingwater Access Road, at Juntura, and at Riverside.  

Location: The complex is made up of several different fires that span intermittently from their origins near the Lamb Ranch/Warm Springs Reservoir area south to the Beaver Table/Twin Reservoir area near Venator.

Fire information and updates will be provided as early and often as possible.  For the most current information, go online to

Residents should expect increased firefighting equipment on roadways and in the air, and avoid active wildfire areas at all times. 

Fire danger is HIGH and public use restrictions are in effect across Harney County.  The Industrial Fire Precaution Level is a level two, which limits personal woodcutting to those hours after 8 p.m. and before 1 p.m.  Use extreme caution when traveling through and recreating in the outdoors this time of year.

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