Lightning continues to spark wildfires in Oregon

More than 730 firefighters battled the Sisters fire before demobilizing, July 23, 2014 (KOIN 6 News)
More than 730 firefighters battled the Sisters fire before demobilizing, July 23, 2014 (KOIN 6 News)

ASHLAND, Ore. (AP)– Authorities in Jackson County have told residents in a community near Ashland to leave their homes immediately as a wildfire spread rapidly in southwest Oregon.

The evacuation warning came Thursday night as state forestry officials said on its website that the Oregon Gulch fire was burning about 3,000 acres in the Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument. The fire was reported at about 100 acres earlier in the day.

Elsewhere, lightning sparked two new wildfires in the southwest and central parts of the state. The Beaver Complex is burning about 20 miles northwest of Medford and the Haystack Complex is about nine miles northwest of Kimberly in central Oregon.

Nearly 500,000 acres, or about 780 square miles, are burning in the state.

Hot weather remains in the forecast, and officials expect lightning and thunderstorms to start more new fires.

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