Tiny fires pop up

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

The Shale Rock fire, covering less than a quarter of an acre, was discovered by a reconnaissance plane around 9:30 a.m., according to department spokeswoman Ashley Dubrey.

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

Known as "sleepers," the 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, firefighters 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 Peak 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 from storms that swept through earlier in the week.

Meanwhile, aerial patrols were out looking for more sleepers this morning in Jackson, Josephine and Curry counties, he said.

— Paul Fattig

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