VALE, Ore. -- Lightning strikes from Monday have started multiple wildfires in Eastern Oregon.
The U.S. Bureau of Land Management says the fire is burning in typical terrain for the region, amid grass and sagebrush.
Public Information Officer for the BLM Vale District Mark Wilkening says the Crowley Creek and the Stockade Fires merged early Tuesday evening. Wilkening said they will not be able to determine the new acreage size until Wednesday morning.
Early Tuesday, the largest of the fires was east of Stockade Mountain in central Malheur County, named the Crowley Creek Fire. The winds increased Tuesday afternoon, pushing the Crowley Creek Fire through dry vegetation and growing to over 8,500 acres. BLM says bulldozers, water-tenders, hand crews and helicopters are tending to the fire.
BLM Boise says they have sent over two engines, air attack, and a dispatcher to help on the Crowley Creek Fire.
The agency also reports five small fires, named the South Fork Fires burning 250 acres, down from about 1,500 acres earlier reported. The South Fork Fires are burning on state land in Harney County near the South Fork of the Malheur River. BLM says that fire crews are making good progress on the fire.
BLM says a third fire started around the same time, the Stockade Fire, which located three miles south of the Crowley Creek Fire, was thought to be contained, but has kicked back up again from Tuesday afternoon winds. Officials say that embers had ignited dried grasses and the fire quickly spread to 600 acres. Retardant bombers from the National Interagency Fire Center in Boise were called in to help crews out.
Officials say that wind will continue to be a factor with all three fires with wind gust expected to reach up to 32 mph, Tuesday night. However, winds are expected to be light on Wednesday, but pick up again later in the day.