Saturday, July 27, 2013

Evening Update for Fires on ODF-Protected Lands in Josephine County

A flurry of rumors of evacuations in Wolf Creek and other areas circulated late this afternoon after most of Josephine County was swallowed by smoke. The brisk breeze that bedeviled firefighters much of the day abruptly died around 5:00 p.m. and rumors about evacuations were rampant.

The only evacuation -- and it was an advisory -- occurred today along Illinois River Rd where campers were being told to prepare to leave if the Labrador Fire continued to grow. No evacuations occurred in Wolf Creek, Selma or anywhere else.

Firefighters on the 24 lighting-caused fires on Oregon Dept. of Forestry-protected lands had their hands full most of the day as the aforementioned brisk winds kept several of the fires active.
  • The 70-acre Farmer Gulch Fire west of Wolf Creek slowly grew, but continual battering by helicopters and air tankers kept the flanks of the fire in check. The fire is slowly chewing downhill, and residents below the fire have been advised to make evacuation plans should it become necessary; Wolf Creek Fire Dept. and Rural Metro Fire Dept. firefighters are keeping a close eye on the situation.
  • The 200-300-acre Brimstone Fire located 5 miles west of Sunny Valley was also very active today, and helicopters and air tankers pounded hot spots and flanks with buckets of water and loads of retardant.
  • The Big Windy Fire, located 10 miles west of Galice, near to Bear Camp Rd, is being turned over to an incident management team.
  • Fires in the Hog Creek and Grave Creek areas were also quite active today.
While many fires are burning in Josephine County, the bulk of the smoke in the air over the county is coming from fires in Douglas County. People having trouble with coping with the smoke are advised to stay indoors and run air conditioners or the furnace fan (without turning on the heat) to filter smoke particles out of the air inside the house. For more information about coping with wildfire smoke, see this article.