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Firefighters Chase Down Hot Spots

7-23 fireWHITE CITY, Ore. – Fire crews are on clean-up duty after more than 1,200 lightning strikes in Jackson County alone. Tuesday’s lightning storms resulted in nearly 45 hotspots in the area, just on Department of Forestry and U.S. Forest Service land.

Most of those starts remain under an acre, but many of the state’s resources that can help in the fight are tied up elsewhere — and that includes contract crews.

Grayback Forestry, for example, has about 120 people on firefighting duty across five different fires. But all of those are either east of the Cascades or in Washington.

The agency has one crew of 21 firefighters that just got back to White City from the Buzzard Complex.

That crew will remain here hoping that, given the weather, we can dodge a bullet.

“Just because of this rain, I think it might slow down this storm that came in,” said Grayback firefighter Jonathan Frohreich. “We’ll see if more develops, hopefully not.”

The biggest fire in the area is at about 1.5 acres. The remaining starts are mostly at under an acre.

Veteran firefighters say fire seasons historically tend to favor one side of the cascades over the other. Last year they say the west side got hammered, while this year the east has seen most of the activity.