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Oregon Fire Spreads, Firefighters Gain Ground Elsewhere

July 14, 1990

Undated (AP) _ A wildfire in central Oregon firefighters thought they had surrounded jumped fire lines and tripled in size. Firefighters elsewhere had better success with summer blazes.

In California, a brush fire ignited by a teen-ager playing with a toy rocket was contained Friday and crews in Yellowstone National Park battled flames with the help from air tankers dropping fire retardant.

The Oregon fire was thought to have been contained late Thursday after blackening 600 acres of timberland, but wind blew embers past a fire line and new flames quickly spread Friday, said state Department of Forestry fire spokesman John Boro.

It ballooned to 1,800 acres by early today and threatened to expand further, he said. Reinforcements were called in to bolster a force of 100 firefighters today.

The fire was touched off Tuesday night in a lightning storm that swept over the Cascade Range. After smoldering for two days, the fire grew rapidly Thursday, moving through brush and pine forests on private lands near Tumalo Reservoir, about six miles southeast of Sisters, Ore.

No structures were under immediate threat early today, but firefighters closely watched the blaze’s progress toward a ranch in its path, officials said.

Lightning storms this week started about 300 fires in Oregon. Most have been doused or encircled by fire lines, officials said.

Humidity helped firefighters contain a 6,500-acre brush fire in California that was sparked by a toy rocket.

″At this point it’s not going anywhere. If weather conditions stay the same, it looks pretty good,″ said Orange County fire spokeswoman Maria Sobol. A lack of wind as well as moisture in the air aided 700 firefighters.

A 15-year-old Yorba Linda boy was questioned for investigation of unlawful use of a model rocket. It is illegal for a minor to use such rockets without supervision.

The teen-ager, released to his family, told officials the rocket malfunctioned and crashed into dry brush. He tried to stamp the fire out, suffering minor burns to his leg, then called 911.

In Washington, U.S. Forest Service spokesman Ron Dehart said most of the 55 small lightning fires in the Mount Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest have either been put out or brought under control.

In Wyoming on Friday, more than 80 firefighters battled Yellowstone’s 12th fire of the year.

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