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Oregon's Moccasin Hills fire destroys 9 homes, continues to grow

Oregon fire is one of six to strike Northwest early in fire season.
Oregon's Moccasin Hills fire destroys 9 homes, more than 20 other structures; 100 people told to evacuate

More than 100 people have been evacuated in south-central Oregon after a rapidly moving fire burned about 2,900 acres and destroyed nine homes in Klamath County, officials said Monday.

No injuries have been reported from what is being called the Moccasin Hills fire, centered north of the Sprague River about 280 miles south of Portland. The cause of the blaze is under investigation, Jeri Chase, a spokeswoman for the state Department of Forestry, told the Los Angeles Times.

The fire, which began Sunday, comes at the start of the wildfire season throughout the West.

The Moccasin fire was one of three blazes burning in Oregon on Monday, and three others were being fought in nearby Washington. Only the fire at Lake Spokane in Washington is considered 100% contained, according to the Northwest Interagency Coordination Center, which tracks fires.

In Oregon, precipitation has been low and an estimated 15,000 lightning strikes have been reported over the weekend, Chase said. Few of the lightning strikes actually hit the ground, and fewer still are believed to have ignited dry brush and wood.

No more lightning is included in the forecast for the coming days, Chase said, but the drought has made the fire danger “extreme.” 

As of Monday, the Moccasin fire had destroyed 20 other structures in addition to the nine homes, Chase said. More than 100 people have been asked to leave their houses.

At least 73 firefighters are battling the blaze, but the number is increasing as more resources enter the fire zone, Chase said.

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Copyright © 2015, Los Angeles Times
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