LA GRANDE — The Oregon Trail Fire near the Oregon Trail Interpretive Park at Blue Mountain Crossing, about 12 miles west of La Grande, continues to burn, according to the Blue Mountain Interagency Dispatch Center.

The 3.5-acre wildfire 12 miles west of La Grande is at least 80% contained as of Friday, July 9, the interagency dispatch center reported.

A crew of 10 U.S. Forest Service firefighters with three engines did mop work on the fire July 9.

The fire was first reported in the early afternoon hours of July 7 and was ignited by a campfire, according to the dispatch center.

Firefighters from the U.S. Forest Service and the Oregon Department of Forestry have been combatting the blaze.

According to Marilyn Lohmann, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Pendleton, high winds and temperatures in the Union County forecast are causing a high risk of wildfires.

“We’ll probably continue to see very warm temperatures in the next week or so, and it will also be dry and windy, especially (July 11) through (July 12),” Lohmann said.

Furthermore, smoke from the Bootleg Fire in Klamath County has settled in the Grande Ronde Valley. The Oregonian reported July 7 that the Bootleg Fire, near the city of Sprague River in Southern Oregon, had spread to 11,000 acres and is completely uncontained. High winds have brought the smoke to the northeastern part of the state.

The Oregon Department of Forestry has put new fire restrictions in place across Union, Baker, Wallowa, Umatilla and parts of Malheur, Grant and Morrow counties to prevent and minimize the chances of human-caused wildfires in the areas.

“This year has been unique in the sense that we are seeing large fires around the region several weeks ahead of when we would normally expect them,” Steve Meyer, Baker Wildland Fire supervisor, said in a press release. “With the thunderstorms that have been hitting the area, we must consider our options in reducing the number of preventable fires.”

These rules are effective as of Friday, July 9, on all private, state, county and municipal lands in the affected counties. They will likely stay in place throughout the summer.

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