Lightning sparked a wildfire Thursday, Aug. 17 in the ranchlands around Antelope, which consumed an estimated 13,000 acres and injured two volunteer firefighters.
The ranches hardest hit were the Gomes, McKay, Dickson and Metteer ranches. That area is covered by the Ashwood-Antelope Rural Fire Protection Association, and ranchers make up the all-volunteer firefighting crew.
According to Candy Gomes, fire burned about 8,000 acres of their ranch. "On Friday, they back burned our, place Metteer's, Cold Camp Road and several other places. No houses were lost and they stopped the fire before it got to the hay barns," she said.
The two men injured were Mathew Felton, who had an arm burn, and Devin Krasznavolgyi, who suffered face and neck burns. Both men were taken to Legacy Emanuel Hospital's burn center in Portland for treatment. Felton was released, but Krasznavolgyi is still at the hospital.
Apparently, the men were fighting the fire in a water truck, when the fire turned and came back at them.
Gomes said there were fires from lightning strikes everywhere, but ranchers and volunteers who came from Madras, Shaniko and Grass Valley were able to put many of the fires out. A Bureau of Land Management crew also responded.
As for the cattle, Gomes said most of them were gone from the area. "We had five bulls in the field where the fire started, but they got in the creek and stayed there," she said, noting they survived.
Early Saturday morning, a rain storm passed over the area. "The rain settled it really good. There are still some trees smoking, which we have to watch, and a lot of grazing ground was lost," she said.