Saturday, July 27, 2013

Southwest Oregon Wildfire Update

The Douglas Complex, which includes about 40 fires along the Douglas/Josephine County line, is estimated to total about 4,000 acres.  Most of the acres are from fires near Rabbit Mountain and Dad's Creek in Douglas County.  Many of the smaller fires are contained but may require additional work and monitoring over the next few days.  An Oregon Dept. of Forestry Type II incident management team assumed command of the complex at 8 AM this morning and the incident command post is at Glendale High School.

Two fires on tributaries of the Rogue River were active last night and are continuing to grow this morning.  The Big Windy Fire, in the Big Windy Creek area down river from Merlin, is about 50 acres.  The fire is in rugged terrain and firefighters are experiencing difficulty in accessing and attacking the fire from safe positions.  With winds predicted to be near 20 mph today, it is likely this fire will continue to grow.  The Brimstone Fire is in the Hog Creek area on the north side of the Rogue River.  It is currently about 100 acres.  Firefighters believe they have an opportunity to check the spread sometime today, depending on winds and other conditions.
 
The Rogue River-Siskiyou National Forest has ordered a Type II incident management team for the 300 acre Labrador Fire, which is west of Selma near Briggs Creek Campground and the border of the Kalmiopsis Wilderness.  The fire is on the south side of the river and active on all sides. Smoke has limited the visibility and prevented air resources from engaging this morning.  As weather conditions change later in the day, visibility should increase.  The incident management team will have their incident command post at Lake Selmac.

The Tiller Ranger District, on the south end of the Umpqua National Forest has ordered a Type II incident management team for the Whisky Complex.  The complex consists of three fires, the largest of which is the Whisky Fire at 800 acres.  This fire produced the smoke column visible from Medford yesterday afternoon.  The other two fires are the Buckeye (150 acres) and the Big Brother (10 acres).

Additional crews, engines and overhead resources will be arriving today.  There are five federal air tankers and three ODF air tankers available for use. 

From Roseburg south to the California border, The Umpqua National Forest, the Rogue River-Siskiyou National Forest, Douglas Forest Protective Association, Coos Forest Protective Association, Oregon Department of Forestry, Roseburg District BLM and Medford District BLM responded to close to 100 fire starts over the last 24 hours.  Coordination and sharing of resources, including crews, overhead, and aircraft, were key to keeping most of the fires small.  
 
[ posted by Jim Whittington, public affairs, Medford District of the Bureau of Land Management ]

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