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Lightning fire near Shady Cove contained

Oregon Department of Forestry firefighters work on mopping up a lightning-sparked fire near Shady Cove.

A fire sparked by one of more than 30 lightning strikes that hit across Jackson County Wednesday has been fully contained, the Oregon Department of Forestry reported.

A reconnaissance flight spotted the fire, dubbed the Sawyer fire, just after 5 p.m. Thursday. The blaze was burning on Sawyer Road, northwest of Shady Cove.

“It actually was difficult to access,” said Natalie Weber, public information officer for ODF’s southwest division. “It was well off the roadway, and we had to walk into it and hike in a little bit.”

At first, fire crews thought there were two fires but determined there was only one once they arrived on scene. ODF responded with four engines. Firefighters established a line around the flames and quickly mopped it up.

The slow-moving fire, contained at one-tenth acre, never threatened any structures or necessitated any evacuations. Wednesday’s rain ended up being a boon for firefighters.

“That played a huge role in how small it stayed,” Weber said.

ODF officials say the fire likely won’t be the last from the 33 strikes Jackson County sustained between 10 a.m. and 10 p.m. Wednesday. Employees at the agency’s detection center will continue to monitor areas struck by lightning for holdover fires in the next week or two, as it is typical for fires to ignite in warmer weather following thunderstorms.

The National Weather Service has forecast a warming trend starting next week, with more summer-like weather en route.

Reach Mail Tribune web editor Ryan Pfeil at 541-776-4468 or rpfeil@rosebudmedia.com. Follow him on Twitter at @ryanpfeil.