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Crews battle blaze near Mitchell

lThunderstorms ignite dozens of fires throughout central Oregon l
Firefighters have been battling a 400-acre forest fire, which is on the Ochoco National Forest about six miles southwest of Mitchell.
   According to Roland Giller, public affairs specialist for the Central Oregon Office of Communications for the Deschutes National Forest, an incident management team has been ordered for what is being called the Maxwell Fire, which is on the northern boundary of the Bridge Creek Wilderness Area.
   "A heli-tanker assisted two 20-person crews, two fire engines and a water tender truck to suppress the fire as it burned in...mixed-conifer stands, thick with dead trees," Giller said. "A type-II incident management team comprised of about 40 personnel is expected to about 40 personnel are expected to begin directing suppression efforts on the Maxwell Fire Wednesday morning."
   He added that firefighters continued to suppress about 50 fires Monday afternoon that were detected after thunderstorms rolled through central Oregon last weekend. More than 2,300 lightning strikes hit the area over the weekend. Giller said emergency personnel have been able to contain most of the fires to less than a quarter of an acre.
   He added that people at the Foley Butte Lookout detected a new blaze late Monday afternoon called the Geneva-III Fire. It is burning about five miles west of Culver in grass, sagebrush and juniper trees on private land and the Crooked River National Grassland.
   "Fire managers estimate the blaze to be about 400 acres and reported light winds blowing it south Monday evening," Giller said. "The nearest structures in the vicinity of the fire are to the south. But, it must cross the Deschutes River before reaching any subdivisions."