Saturday, August 20, 2011
If you see a big plume of smoke anywhere outside of the North River Road Fire area, call 9-1-1.
Most of the fire suppression activity has moved away from the road as fire crews penetrate deeper into the burned area.
Yesterday, fire investigators said the roadside fires that ignited the North River Road Fire on Thursday afternoon were caused by a vehicle traveling in the northbound lane of Interstate 5. The vehicle sprayed sparks onto roadside grass, which spread fire to nearby blackberry thickets and other flammable fuels. The type of vehicle, the owner of the vehicle, and what specifically caused the sparks are unknown.
Out-of-area structural fire protection crews and engines were released from the North River Road Fire late yesterday, and are returning to their home units this morning.
Friday, August 19, 2011
A second fire west of the city of Rogue River, next to Foothill Blvd., is contained at 2.5 acres.
North River Road is closed to the public between the city of Rogue River and Twin Bridges Rd. Residents who were advised to evacuate from their homes yesterday have been allowed to return. At least 25 homes were threatened by the North River Road and Foothill Blvd. fires.
No homes burned in the fires, but three outbuildings and one vehicle were destroyed. No injuries have been reported.
The cause of the fires, which broke out after 4:00 p.m. Thursday, is being investigated. A series of fires started along the edge of Interstate 5’s northbound lane between mile markers 45 and 48.
Thursday, August 18, 2011
The fires were reported at 4:20 p.m. today.
Structural fire engines from many fire departments in Jackson and Josephine counties responded to the fire, along with engines, bulldozers, helicopters and airtankers from the Oregon Department of Forestry’s Medford and Grants Pass units.
More than 200 firefighters are working tonight to complete a fireline around the blaze, and to protect homes and other structures. A few outbuildings are known to have burned, but no injuries have been reported.
Residents in the fire area along North River Road were advised to evacuate. An evacuation center is located at Rogue River Elementary School. North River Road remains closed in the fire area.
Call (541) 776-7338 for information about the evacuation center and road closures.
People who burn debris, whether in piles or in burn barrels, may be cited for failing to comply with the fire prevention regulations currently in effect. If a wildfire is caused by debris burning, the responsible party may be billed for fire suppression costs.
Details on fire prevention restrictions that are in effect are available online at www.swofire.oregon.gov, and from the following ODF unit offices:
Wednesday, August 17, 2011
Two hours later, firefighters responded to a wildfire that was also in the Upper Applegate Road area, 1/4 mile from the earlier fire. The second fire was determined to have been caused by firebrands from the earlier fire.
Three helicopters dropped water from buckets onto the second fire while engine crews and other firefighters, assisted by the bulldozer from ODF's Medford Unit, constructed fireline around the fire's edge. By nightfall, the fire had been significantly cooled down, and a Jackson County Community Justice crew completed the fireline and continued mopping up hot spots. The Community Justice crew left the fireline at 3:30 a.m. today.
The second fire was contained at 2 acres.
Crews will be working on these fires today, continuing to mop up up remaining hot spots.
Other ODF engine crews will continue to mop up slash piles that burned west of Trail on Tuesday. The cause of the fires remains under investigation.
Tuesday, August 16, 2011
Four of the fires were reported at 6:48 a.m. today. The fifth was discovered a couple hours later. Six ODF engines, bulldozers from the Medford and Grants Pass units, a fireline-digging crew, and the Medford Unit's small helicopter are working to construct fireline around the fires and mop them up.
The cause of the fires is under investigation.
Monday, August 15, 2011
For further details, see the Southwest Oregon District's fire statistics page.
Why has this fire season had so few fires? Why have so few acres burned? The reasons are:
- A wet spring and early summer
- Cooler than normal summertime temperatures
- Few thunderstorms
While moderate temperatures are forecast for the coming week, the vegetation continues to dry out, and this means fires can start easily in grass and brush, and spread quickly. Please continue to use extreme caution in wildland areas to prevent wildfires.