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Fire agencies report grass fires in northeastern Oregon weeks ahead of normal outbreaks

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PENDLETON, Oregon — Firefighters in Eastern Oregon say they're already chasing grass fires, weeks earlier than usual.

The Hermiston fire department tells the East Oregonian (http://bit.ly/1Nj67oX) it's had five grass fires so far in March. That includes a two-acre fire Tuesday caused by a controlled burn that was spread by high winds.

Also on Tuesday, the volunteer fire department in Pilot Rock south of Pendleton fought its third grass fire in as many weeks.

Capt. Jeff Hemphill says the department doesn't usually start seeing grass fires until the beginning of June.

Dry, warm conditions marked the winter and first days of spring.

A fire weather forecaster for the National Weather Service in Pendleton says it's expected to remain warm through the spring, but rainfall could pick up.


Information from: East Oregonian, http://www.eastoregonian.info

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