ARLINGTON - A massive wildfire more than a mile wide is moving rapidly east from Blalock Canyon toward the town of Arlington. There is a partial mandatory evacuation in effect south of Arlington along Highway 19, also known as the John Day Highway.
Residents are being asked to gather at Boardman High School where the Red Cross has set up an aid station.
The fire allegedly started around 2 p.m. when a tractor sparked a wheat field. The farmer tried to stomp it out, but it quickly spread to the wheat.
At 4 p.m., mutual aid was called for from Morrow County. Heppner, Irrigon and Boardman fire departments all sent units. Umatilla County followed, sending units from Hermiston, Stanfield, Pendleton, Umatilla and the tribes. Sherman County also joined Gilliam County in the effort.
By 9:45 p.m., the fire unofficially was labeled a state conflagration fire, meaning local resources had been exhausted.
Another fire is being contained along Eightmile Road east of the John Day Highway.