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Bowden Fire In Southeast Oregon Swells To 22,000 Acres

<p>A lightning strike ignited the Long Draw fire July 8, 2012. It burned almost 900 square miles, Oregon's largest fire of the past century.</p>

Amelia Templeton

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A lightning strike ignited the Long Draw fire July 8, 2012. It burned almost 900 square miles, Oregon's largest fire of the past century.

A 22,000-acre wildfire is burning in southeastern Oregon’s Vale district near Highway 95. The fire started Monday after lightning struck grassland in the fire-prone area.

The Bowden Fire is growing within the burn scar of the 2012 Long Draw fire and is 0 percent contained, as of Tuesday afternoon.

Officials have warned of lightning season for weeks and fear squeezed resources could prove a problem if human-caused fires pick up as well.

There are no homes or structures threatened by the Bowden fire, but equipment such as bulldozers and air tankers have been deployed to fight the fire.

Fire officials said Tuesday they've been worried for weeks about the ongoing dry spell and a string of human-caused fires in Oregon.

The approaching total solar eclipse Aug. 21 is adding to fire potential across the state as well.

Oregon’s Department of Forestry has warned that an influx of visitors unfamiliar with local conditions and restrictions could significantly increase the potential for more human-caused fire starts. 

An estimated 1 million people are expected to visit Oregon to view the eclipse.

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Ericka Cruz Guevarra