I-84 reopens, Eastern Oregon wildfire still burning

Lime Hill fire continues to burn

ONTARIO -- Interstate 84 has reopened in both directions at the Oregon state line and eastbound at exit 216, seven miles east of Pendleton, after a wildfire caused it to be shut down near Huntington.

As of Thursday afternoon, the Lime Hill Fire had grown to more than 12,000 acres - from Wednesday's initial report of about 600 acres - near Huntington.

Overnight growth was attributed to sustained wind.

It was burning dangerously close to the interstate, and the city of Huntington on Wednesday night issued a level one evacuation notice. Residents were advised to be on high alert because of the danger in the area.

The evacuation notice was rescinded on Thursday.

Hundreds of drivers were stranded on stretches of Interstate 84 between Ontario and Pendleton before it was reopened at about 1:15 a.m. Thursday.

"It's been a delay. We don't know when it's going to open," said Shavonne Champion from Texas. " It's frustrating, it's hot, so we've just sat here waiting."

Joe Belton, a truck driver from California, said he had a delivery to make but understands safety is a priority.

"There is a time period for the load to be delivered but it is what it is and it's just what you have to do, sit back and wait till it's safe," Belton said.

Government and contract resources are working the fire with air and ground resources.

There were at least two other wildfires burning in eastern Oregon as of Wednesday night.

The Alder Creek fire, burning on the west side of I-84 between Pleasant Valley and Durkee exits, was approximately 2 acres.

The Johnson area fire, near mile marker 324, was 1 acre.

The Vale District Bureau of Land Management said two smaller fires are expected to be contained soon. However, varying weather conditions could increase the potential for the fires to spread.

No word on what caused the fires or when they might be contained.


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