Warm Springs fire expands into forested area

first_imgPORTLAND — A fire on the Warm Springs Indian Reservation in Central Oregon has expanded into a forested upland, complicating the battle against a six-day-old blaze.The growth of the Sunnyside Turnoff fire has slowed and is now estimated at 74 square miles. But the projected date for containing it has been pushed back from Sunday to next Thursday.The reservation fire started in grass, sagebrush and juniper but has spread north into the Mutton Mountains, fire information officer Bill Queen said Thursday.The area is marked by a tree common in Oregon’s eastern forests, the Ponderosa pine. Wildfires in trees can expand quickly by igniting lower-level fuels and racing to the crowns of the trees, spreading from there. Mountain winds are less predictable, too.The Kah-Nee-Ta resort on the reservation said it would reopen part of its operation Thursday, although its main lodge is expected to remain closed because of damage from an unrelated fire a few days before the wildfire broke out.last_img

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