Storms bring fire & ice

By Jayson Jacoby August 04, 2014 01:34 pm

Depending on where you were during the weekend you might have been pummeled by hail, drenched by rain or rattled by lightning that sparked lots of wildfires

By Jayson Jacoby

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A relentless barrage of thunderstorms during the weekend brought hail and torrential rain to parts of Baker County as well as hundreds of lightning bolts that ignited more than two dozen wildfires.

Most of the new blazes are less than one acre.

But a group of fires ignited Friday night or early Sunday in the North Fork John Day Wilderness northeast of Granite prompted the Wallowa-Whitman National Forest to close a pair of hiking trails and part of a forest road.

Dubbed the Mount Ireland Complex, the fires are mainly in the Baldy Creek area north of Mount Ireland, which is topped by a Wallowa-Whitman fire lookout station.

The biggest of the blazes has burned about 20 acres.

Both trails leading to Baldy Lake — one follows Baldy Creek for six miles from a trailhead off the Elkhorn Drive Scenic Byway, the other trail starts at a ridgecrest about a mile west of the lake — are closed to the public.

See more in Monday's issue of the Baker City Herald.