A thunder-and-lightning storm that rolled through the mid-valley Thursday afternoon and evening caused three small fires on lands protected by the Oregon Department of Forestry’s Sweet Home unit and the Linn Forest Protective Association.
There were no known fires on the West Oregon District, based in Philomath, according to Forester Mike Totey.
“The storm cell missed us, but we are assisting our sister districts,” he said. “We sent two engines and another person down to Douglas County Friday morning, and we are out on patrol here as well.”
Sweet Home District Forester Craig Pettinger said there were about 25 strikes and two of the fires were on U.S. Forest Service lands.
“Fortunately, much of the lightning was cloud-to-cloud instead of down-strikes,” he said.
The first fire was in a tree in the Two Girls area about five or six miles south of Trout Creek. The other happened in a large tree in the Swamp Mountain area.
“We had to cut our way into that one,” Pettinger said. “It was about 450 feet from private ground. It was about 6 feet in diameter and 150 feet tall.”
Pettinger said his summer fire crew mopped up at around 11 p.m. He sent a couple of engines out Friday morning to make sure the fire had not started again.
He said several strikes hit Lane County, including one in the Coburg area that fire officials are still tracking.
“They gave up about 11 p.m., but were back out there as daybreak,” Pettinger said. “The good news is that it must be small if they couldn’t find it last night.”
Pettinger said an onshore push of moist, cooler air moved into the mid-valley Friday, which should reduce fire possibilities.
Douglas County was hit hard with at least 11 lightning strikes Thursday, resulting in several fires. As of Friday morning, they included the Big Tom Follety Fire, 5 miles northeast of Elkton in heavy timber; the Kelly Creek Fire, 7 miles northeast of Glide; the Green Mountain Fire, 5 miles southeast of Azalea; the Bullock 1 and 2 fires, about 7 miles east of Tiller; the Sam Creek Fire, 8 miles northeast of Tiller; the Slide Creek Fire, 9 miles northeast of Myrtle Creek; the Milepost 3 Fire, 3 miles east of Myrtle Creek; the South Deer Creek Fire, 8 miles southeast of Roseburg; the Dawson Road Fire, 3 miles south of Roseburg; the Little River Fire, 9 miles east of Glide; the Oak Hill Road Fire, about 5 miles southwest of Sutherlin.