- Associated Press - Sunday, July 31, 2016

MEACHAM, Ore. (AP) - About 20 homes in eastern Oregon have been evacuated, and officials on Sunday told residents in the nearby small town of Meacham to be ready to leave because of a wildfire.

Also on Sunday, authorities reopened the eastbound and westbound lanes of Interstate 84 that had closed overnight due to the fire.

Fire spokeswoman Jamie Knight said the 1-square-mile fire burning of grass, brush and ponderosa pine stands is being fought by about 280 firefighters. Two helicopters and a small aircraft are also trying to slow the blaze.

A Type 3 Incident Command Team has taken over managing the fire. On Sunday, it was working to strengthen containment lines on the fire between La Grande and Pendleton.

The team is assessing when it’s safe for evacuated residents to return home. The American Red Cross has set up shelters for the evacuees at the Sunrise Middle School in Pendleton.

The fire is burning on lands protected by the Oregon Department of Forestry. Thirteen fire engines and two bulldozers are assigned to the blaze.

Knight advised caution for motorists on the interstate because of firefighting equipment in the area.

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