Established in 1889 it covers an amazing 10,228 square miles of Eastern Oregon
, yet only has a population of 6,900. The county seat is Burns
and the county receives an average rainfall of 10 inches.
The county is almost entirely within the Great Basin, with no drainage to any ocean. The dominant natural features are Steens Mountain, towering 5000 feet over the Alvord Desert, and the two large but shallow lakes, Harney and Malheur.