Fire Crews Chase Lightning Fires

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APPLEGATE LAKE, Ore. — Fire crews are chasing multiple newly-sparked fires after lightning strikes from Wednesday night and Thursday afternoon. The largest fire has grown to more than 20 acres just east of Applegate Lake.

Ground crews and a helicopter have been on scene trying to slow down the flames. The firefighting resources have been stretched thin.

People camping at Applegate Lake said they watched the lightning strikes last night and watched as flames began to be visible in the hills. Crews have been out on the Iron Knob Fire since Wednesday night, and are working to make sure it doesn’t spread.

The fire is burning east of Applegate Lake and is about 20 to 25 acres in size. Crews brought in a helicopter early this afternoon to drop water on the flames, and are using bulldozers and hand crews to build a fire line around the flames.

There are buildings in the area, and the squaw lakes campground is a few miles away, but representatives from the forest service say the fire is not threatening any structures of campsites.

They say if it begins to move or grow significantly, they could warn people in those areas to be ready to leave. Campground staff at Applegate Lake say the area is very remote.

“It’s pretty rugged terrain. Steep hills, really no road access. There’s tails and motorcycle trails. Those guys, they don’t have an easy job, for sure,” said Campground Host Bill Lewis.

The Iron Nob Fire is one of seven lightning sparked fires crews have been chasing. Most of them have been very small. Applegate Lake campground staff say there is only one road in and out of the Squaw Lakes Campground, and fire crews will be using that road to transport equipment.

They said people who are planning on camping there this weekend should try to avoid it, and staff said there will be other accommodations made at other campgrounds near the lake.