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Air Quality Alert In Effect As Wildfires Burn In Eastern Oregon


The Bear Butte Fire burns Friday, Aug. 4, 2017, near Anthony Lakes Mountain Resort in the Wallowa-Whitman National Forest.

The Bear Butte Fire burns Friday, Aug. 4, 2017, near Anthony Lakes Mountain Resort in the Wallowa-Whitman National Forest.

Wallowa-Whitman National Forest/U.S. Forest Service

Wildland firefighters in northeast Oregon faced their first big test of the 2017 fire season over the weekend after three large blazes erupted in relatively short order, at least two of which were human-caused.

The largest of the bunch, the Bear Butte fire, was first reported Friday afternoon within a mile of Anthony Lakes Mountain Resort in the Wallowa-Whitman National Forest. Authorities quickly evacuated the resort, along with Anthony Lakes Campground and cabins in the immediate area.

As of Monday, the fire was holding steady at about 500 acres. Road closures are in effect while crews work to strengthen fire lines, including Forest Service Road 73 from the North Fork John Day Campground to the national forest boundary. The Elkhorn Crest Trail is also closed from the trailhead to the Summit Trail junction.

On Sunday, a Type 2 incident management team composed of 300 mostly local firefighters and three helicopters arrived to take command of the Bear Butte fire, which is now 10 percent contained. The cause of the fire has not yet been determined.

Read more at the East Oregonian.

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