Crews work at sites of smaller wildfires

Two engine crews from the Oregon Department of Forestry were deployed to a lightning-caused fire about 17 miles northeast of Ashland Wednesday morning.

However, the Shale Rock fire, discovered by a reconnaissance plane that morning, was less than a quarter-acre, according to department spokeswoman Ashley Dubrey.

The fire had been triggered by a lightning strike from one of the storms that had moved through the area in recent days, she said.

Known as "sleepers," lightning-caused fires can smolder for several days before flaring up.

The department's firefighters protect U.S. Bureau of Land Management, state, county and private lands.

In the Rogue River-Siskiyou National Forest, crews are fighting four small lightning-caused fires in the High Cascades Ranger District, according to forest spokesman Paul Galloway.

Two of the fires are in the Sky Lakes Wilderness while another is near Hershberger Mountain and the other not far from Robinson Butte, he said. The two fires in the wilderness are being fought by firefighters who rappelled from helicopters, he said.

"All the fires are very small at this point," he said, noting they are most likely sleepers left from storms that swept through earlier in the week.

Down in Northern California, several wildfires sparked by lightning are burning in the Klamath National Forest. The largest is the 20-acre Craggy fire burning near China Peak about six miles east of the community of Oak Knoll, said forest spokesman Tom Lavagnino.

The Buckhorn fire is burning near the Buckhorn Bally Lookout just southeast of the Beaver Creek Campground, he said, noting no size estimate is yet available. No structures were threatened by either fire, he said.

However, most fires discovered in the region following a week of thunderstorms have been rapidly extinguished, he said.

Meanwhile, reconnaissance aircraft crews, staffed fire lookouts and fire crews on both sides of the state line continue to look for smokes from sleeper fires.

Reach reporter Paul Fattig at 541-776-4496 or e-mail him at

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