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Lime Hill fire contained; cause still uncertain

By Jayson Jacoby

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Baker County’s biggest fire of 2015 is fully contained, but investigators have yet to figure out what sparked it.

The Lime Hill fire, reported about noon Wednesday along Interstate 84 about 40 miles southeast of Baker City, burned 11,929 acres of brush and grass, according to the Northwest Interagency Coordination Center in Boise.

Spitting Image

S. John Collins / Baker City Herald Orrin Cobb, 8, puffs up for a great spit during Thursday’s watermelon seed contest.

Baker County Fair contest includes an unexpectorated variety of techniques

By La’akea Kaufman

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Thursday’s watermelon seed spitting contest was a chance for Baker County Fairgoers to take a break from ogling fattened steers and cooing at precisely groomed rabbits, and showcase their own talents. 

A sheet of paper about 12 feet long by three feet wide serve as the playing field. Two large buckets stocked with watermelon slices sit on a folding table at one end, the participants line up on the other.

Flying high — on two wheels

Submitted photo Les Parsons shows one of his many stunts.

Freestyle motorcyclists perform Saturday

By Lisa Britton

For the Baker City Herald

As a child, Robert Haslam loved to climb trees and jump.

At 4, he started riding a dirt bike.

Now 27, he flies across a gap of 75 feet, 40 feet in the air, as he does tricks on a motorcycle.

That’s freestyle motocross, which he took up seven years ago.

Fire foiled

By Jayson Jacoby and Chris Collins

Baker City Herald

A range fire that threatened Huntington on Wednesday evening couldn’t break through control lines Thursday, and fire crews hoped to have the 12,000-acre blaze nearly contained by dusk Friday.

“They held the line yesterday,” BLM spokesman Larry Moore said Friday morning.

Lime Hill fire 50 percent contained, no growth Wednesday

Cause remains undetermined, but investigators don't believe lightning was ignition source

The range fire that started about noon Wednesday and threatened Huntington, did not grow Thursday, remaining at an estimated 12,000 acres, BLM spokesman Larry Moore said this morning.

"They held the line yesterday," Moore said.

Lime Hill fire at 12,000 acres, notice of possible evacuation canceled for Huntington

The city of Huntington has canceled the notice of possible evacuation as the Lime Hill fire no longer is threatening the Baker County community of 510 people about 45 miles southeast of Baker City.

Huntington fire chief: "The city is fine"

By Chris Collins

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A range fire that burned to within about a mile of Huntington Wednesday and brought heavy smoke to the community, is no longer a threat to residents.

“The city is fine,” Huntington Fire Chief Eric Bronson said this morning. “It burned past us by late afternoon and toward evening."

Fire crews using I-84 as natural firebreak to protect Huntington from Lime Hill fire

BLM photo/Aerial view of the Lime Hill fire near Huntington

Fire crews working on the Lime Hill fire about 40 miles southeast of Baker City have taken advantage of the wide concrete strip of four-lane Interstate 84 to help protect Huntington from the blaze that was reported about noon Wednesday and grew to 8,000 acres by the end of the day.

"The interstate is a key, a major point in the defense of Huntington," Larry Moore, a spokesman for the BLM's Vale District, said this morning.

The fire burned Wednesday to the west edge of the freeway, which is about two miles west of Huntington.

Moore said strong winds, blowing at a consistent 20 mph, wafted embers across the freeway, starting two spot fires east of the freeway, but crews quickly doused those spots. 

BLM summons 10 aircraft, more than a dozen engines to try to stop fire burning along I-84 near Lime

The BLM has called in more than a dozen fire engines and 10 aircraft to try to stop a fast-spreading wildfire burning this afternoon next to Interstate 84 about 40 miles southeast of Baker City.

The Lime Hill fire, estimated at 600 acres at 1:45 p.m., was reported about noon today, according to the BLM.

The Oregon Department of Transportation announced at about 3:45 p.m. today that it has closed westbound freeway lanes at Ontario because of the fire. The eastbound freeway also was closed at Baker City at Exit 304. ODOT had no estimate for how long the closure would last. Check TripCheck.com for updates on highway conditions or call 511 or 800-977-6368.

Growing Skills

S. John Collins / Baker City Herald An inmate wades into the tomato patch to thin plants and grab a few weeds hidden beneath a thick canopy.

Master Gardener Program At Powder River Correctional Facility

By La’akea Kaufman

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It’s not every day you see a prison inmate waist-deep in a tomato patch with a hoe in his hand. But the inmates working in the garden at Powder River Correctional Facility (PRCF) in Baker City aren’t exactly typical.

At PRCF— and at 13 other correctional facilities across Oregon— inmates are busy working their green thumbs in partnership with Oregon State University’s (OSU) Extension Service Master Gardener program. 

Each program has between eight and 25 participants, led by volunteer Master Gardeners.

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