Wildfires burn Ore. home, threaten Warm Springs resort

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The remains of a Silverton, Ore.-area building burned when a reported brush and tree fire went out of control south of Silverton Sunday, July 21, 2013. (Silverton Fire District)

NEAR SILVERTON, Ore. (KOIN) — A wildfire that started Saturday morning on the Warm Springs Indian Reservation is now “huge,” a spokesperson for the Warm Springs Tribal Police Department told KOIN 6 News.

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CHART — Contributing factors in the Pacific Northwest region’s increasing fire dangers as of July 21, 2013 (Courtesy KOIN Meteorologist Sally Showman)

The fire jumped the Warm Springs River and spread onto Kah-Nee-Ta Resort property Sunday — spreading over more than 15 square miles. Kah-Nee-Ta Resort was evacuated, and remained closed as crews fight the blaze.

Sunday’s wildfire was about 10% percent contained as of 4 p.m. Sunday, according to Warms Springs Tribal PD. The resort’s closure came just days after the main Kah-Nee-Ta Lodge closed following an unrelated kitchen fire.

A Warm Springs police spokesperson told KOIN 6 News that the 350 responding firefighters were able to keep the wildfire flames away from two nearby subdivisions. Oregon Route 3, leading to the resort, shut down Sunday.

Assistant fire management officer William Williams told KTVZ the Indian Head Casino, U.S. Highway 26, and the town of Warm Springs were not in danger. The highway was fully open as of 10 p.m. Sunday, Williams said.

Investigators suspect this fire was human-caused, according to an AP report.

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A Sunday afternoon brush fire in Silverton, Ore., was classified as a 4+ alarm fire, according to North Marion County Communications. (Courtesy Michelle Kirksey)

Elsewhere in Oregon, a Sunday afternoon brush fire quickly went out of control just southeast of Silverton, Ore.

The brush fire at one point was classified as a 4+ alarm fire, according to North Marion County Communications. Silverton is in Marion County, Ore.

The fire “started to spread rapidly through the brush down steep terrain — and the embers were creating spot fires and threatened near-by homes,” according to the Silverton Fire District. “A second alarm was struck, then subsequently a third and fourth alarm was requested, for more manpower and water to keep the fire from continuing to spread.”

More than 55 firefighters from 13 fire agencies responded to help, along with 15 large capacity water tankers.

Two structures were caught in the blaze: a multi-family home and a large shop/garage, both in the 16000 block of Haven Acres Road. Both structures are believed to be total losses, a Silverton fire department spokesperson told KOIN 6 News.

While fighting those structure fires, “three Silverton firefighters suffered heat exhaustion which required treatment by on scene medical personnel,” according to a Silverton Fire District news release. “One additional firefighter was transported to Silverton Hospital with non-life threatening injuries and has been released in good condition.”

American Red Cross volunteers with the Cascades Region arrived to help what it reports as four adults and a dog displaced by the fire. According to Silverton Fire, a dog and bird died in the blaze.

As of 10 p.m. Sunday, the cause of the Silverton fire was still under investigation.

Also in Oregon Sunday, firefighters said they’re making excellent progress against a southern Oregon wildfire. And while the Pacifica fire near Williams threatened some 150 structures, it only destroyed one home.

About 500 acres have burned.

The Oregon State Fire Marshall confirmed Sunday that progress made Saturday on the fire line allowed them the ability to send home assisting firefighters from Linn, Lincoln and Marion counties.

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