Investigators: Sisters wildfire caused by lightning

Investigators: Sisters wildfire caused by lightning
The Pole Creek fire as seen from the summit of South Sister. Photo by Mo Brethower

SISTERS, Ore. – Fire investigators in Deschutes County said lighting caused a wildfire that burned over 40 square miles of the Deschutes National Forest in September.

The Pole Creek Fire started on Sept. 8 and ultimately grew to 26,795 acres.

The fire started during a small thunderstorm near the Pole Creek Trailhead, investigators said. They came to that conclusion based on interviews with witnesses and lightning occurrence records.

Investigators said the location where the fire started was very remote, which reduced the likelihood that someone intentionally started the fire.

The fire forced evacuations of camp sites and hiking trails. No injuries were reported.

The investigation team was made up of Oregon and Washington Fire Service Special Agents, the Oregon Department of Forestry, the Oregon State Police fire investigator and other authorities.