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More Lightning Strikes; New Fires Small

July 25, 1994

BEND, Ore. (AP) _ Crews closed lines Sunday around three forest fires that have burned about 2,000 acres in Oregon, while lightning sparked smaller fires across the Northwest.

″We had about 200 new lightning fires overnight through Oregon and Washington but none of those were any size yet,″ said Ralph Satterberg, spokesman for the Pacific Northwest Interagency Coordination Center in Portland.

Crews in northern California made progress against 75 lightning fires. Showers and cooler temperatures helped contain fires in Arizona and Colorado.

The largest Oregon blaze, the Four Corners fire south of Bend in the Deschutes National Forest, was close to being contained by firebreaks. It was expected to be under control by Tuesday evening, said Greg McClarren, a U.S. Forest Service spokesman.

Crews estimated Sunday that blaze had covered 1,425 acres, down from previous estimates.

McClarren said campgrounds in the area had been reopened, along with at least one small rustic resort area. Crews also reopened several forest roads closed since Thursday when the lightning strikes began.

Satterberg said two other large fires were still burning in Oregon, the 400-acre Mendenhall Fire in the Siskiyou National Forest and a 175-acre blaze in the Rogue River National Forest.

Officials in the Klamath National Forest in northern California said they had held their own against 75 lightning fires in steep terrain along the California-Oregon border.

About 2,000 firefighters were trying to contain the blazes before they merge and create a potential firestorm, Steve Sandell of the National Park Service said Sunday.

In Arizona, three main fires were quieted by rain and cooler temperatures, said Ron Matt, intelligence officer at the Southwest Coordination Center in Albuquerque, N.M.

The only active Arizona fire was in the Coronado National Forest near Safford. Crews expected to contain that 11,809-acre fire by Monday, Matt said.

Wet weather reaching Colorado provided a welcome breather in the six-week- old fire season, in which nearly 49,000 acres already have been burned by 964 blazes. One 2,000-acre blaze killed 12 firefighters.

Crews were mopping up a 40-acre fire near Grand Junction, Colo., and had contained part of the 3,000-acre Ute Creek fire in the White River National Forest north of Glenwood Springs.

In the Idaho Panhandle, lightning caused more than 50 small fires, the largest of which was only 10 acres, said said Judy Smith, a spokeswoman for the Panhandle National Forests in northern Idaho.

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