Lightning continued to move through most of Oregon last night, igniting fires in those areas of the state on all ownerships. Firefighting agencies continue to be busy doing initial attack on fires that have been identified, and reconnaissance for other possible fire starts. Lightning continues in the forecast through the week-end and into next week.
As fire starts continue on all jurisdictions, ODF is actively securing additional resources and engaging in aggressive initial attack on ODF-protected forestlands throughout the state, so that fire-starts can quickly be brought under control and resources can then be re-deployed where they are most needed next.
Fire season 2014 continues to be challenging and, particularly with the ever-present lightning, ODF appreciates the public’s help in being fire-safe while recreating or working on any of Oregon’s forestlands. Additional human-caused fire-starts will only result in taxing the already-challenged firefighting resources and agencies in Oregon – as well as throughout the Pacific Northwest and Northern California.
Large fires currently burning within ODF’s protection jurisdiction include:
Southwest Oregon District: As fire starts continued to be identified and lightning resulted in several fire starts on ODF’s Southwest Oregon District, ODF Incident Management Team 2 (Incident Commander Chris Cline) assumed command on Thursday, July 31, of what is now called the Beaver Complex.
Current Situation: The Beaver Complex now consists of two fires: the Salt Creek Fire, 20 miles northwest of Medford, and the Oregon Gulch Fire, 15 miles east of Ashland. The newest fire, Oregon Gulch, is south of Highway 66, burning in the proximity of the Soda Mountain Wilderness, and grew rapidly yesterday, now estimated at approximately 11,000 acres. The Salt Creek Fire had moderate fire growth yesterday and is currently 108 acres. Both fires were caused by lightning from thunderstorms that moved through the area over the last few days. The Oregon Gulch Fire started in the Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument, and moved quickly, crossing into Klamath County and over the Oregon-California border early last evening. Due to the complexity of the Oregon Gulch Fire, a unified command management structure with ODF, CalFire, and the Oregon State Fire Marshal’s Office will be established. ODF Incident Management Team 3 was also dispatched to assist ODF IMT 2 with this inci dent. Jackson County Sheriff’s Office issued a Level 3 evacuation order yesterday for homes affected by the Oregon Gulch Fire, near Copco Road (6000 block to the Oregon border). The number of structures threatened is 170. Multiple outbuildings were destroyed. Fire personnel from California, Bureau of Land Management, and various structural fire departments are assisting with fire suppression and structural protection. Fire growth is expected to move in a southeast direction. Resource advisors from the Bureau of Land Management have been dispatched to the fire to assist with minimizing the effects of fire suppression activity within the National Monument.