Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Crews Mop Up Lightning Fires, Get Ready for Hot and Dry Weekend

Engine crews from ODF's Medford and Grants Pass units have mopped up the 29 lightning-caused fires from Tuesday's thunderstorms, and are repacking their engines with fresh hoses and tools in anticipation of having to respond to new wildfires in the near future.

Firefighters will be visiting each of the fires over the next few days for smokes, and each fire must be completely smoke-free for three consecutive days before it is declared out.

Reconnaissance flights are in the air this afternoon and will continue through Thursday.

Holdover fires (sleepers) from Tuesday's lightning are expected to pop up as the clouds clear and the temperature goes up. By the weekend, hot and dry weather will return to the southwest Oregon region.

Fifteen New Fire Starts On Rogue River-Siskiyou NF

Yesterday’s thunderstorms have ignited fifteen fires on the Rogue River-Siskiyou National Forest. The starts are located on the Siskiyou Mountains and High Cascades Ranger Districts and are all reported at less than one acre in size. The precipitation that accompanied the lightning has dampened fire behavior and firefighters are working feverishly to contain all known starts in anticipation of sleeper fires popping up over the next few days as a warming and drying trend arrives over the region. A reconnaissance flight is scheduled this morning to attempt to detect any additional starts and five lookouts are staffed to provide more eyes on the horizon. Smokejumpers have been ordered for two small fires located within the Sky Lakes Wilderness, and additional engines and crews have been ordered to bolster Forest resources.

More Fires Found on SWO District Forestlands

Twenty-nine lightning-caused fires have been found on ODF's Southwest Oregon District from Tuesday's thunderstorms. The largest is a 1.5-acre fire in Murphy Gulch, approximately 5 miles east of Wimer, and the runners-up are a half-acre fire in the Sardine Creek drainage and a quarter-acre fire on Negro Ben Mtn., three miles southwest of Ruch. The other 26 fires located so far on the district are one-tenth of an acre or smaller.

All fire lookouts are staffed today and reconnaissance flights will be cruising over district forestlands looking for more signs of smoke.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

July 22 Evening Lighning Update

At approximately 1905 Hrs the lightning went inactive around SWO District. Please visit SWO Fire Data for the latest maps and information.

Fire Crews Respond to Smoke Reports

Widespread thunderstorms across Jackson County this after prompted many reports of smoke. As of 6:30 p.m., ODF crews from the Medford and Grants Pass units found ten fires, all confined to single trees or small patches of ground fire. The fires were found in the East Antelope Rd, Hobart Peak, Butte Falls Cemetery, East Nevada St., Wren Ridge, Placer Hill, Wards Creek, Murphy Gulch, Wilcox Peak and Hamilton Rd areas. Reports of smoke have come in from Yank Gulch to Sardine Creek, from Galls Creek to Brownsboro. Many of the smoke reports were actually water vapor. However, fire crews expect more fires to be found tonight and tomorrow.

A reconnaissance flight is up and reviewing the forests across the west slope of the Cascade Range, the Siskiyou Mtns and the Rogue Valley.

July 22 Afternoon Lightning Map Update

Moderate lightning has struck SWO district near the center of Jackson County. So far 5 smoke investigations have been reported around the county. SWO Fire Data has been updated with the latest lightning maps and information. Lightning is continuing in the area. The next map update will be at 2000.

Lightning Expected Today in SW Oregon

A Red Flag Warning has been posted by the National Weather Service for "abundant lightning" in the southern end of the Siskiyou Mtns, the southern end of the Cascade Range and the Rogue River Valley in Jackson County. The warning is in effect from 11:00 a.m. to 11:00 p.m. today.

Six lightning strikes were recorded in the Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument late Monday afternoon, but no smoke has been sighted in that region. A reconnaissance flight will scout the area this morning.

Monday, July 21, 2014

July 21 Evening Lightning Maps

We have the latest lightning maps posted to the SWO Fire Data website. We took about 5-10 strikes in the Soda Mountain wilderness area just north of the California border between soda mountain and I-5. It came with wetting rains and a flight has already occurred. Another flight is scheduled at 1915 weather permitting, and 0900 on July 22. No new fires have been spotted yet.

New Pocket Card and Fire Stats for July 21

SWO District went into extreme fire danger over the weekend and continues with IFPL 2. Our pocket card indices and fuel moisture reflect the increased fire danger as well. We are again back setting new records new records for ERC values. The forecast period has a chance of lightning in the area and then back to very hot and dry. Fires will begin to pick up through this period and have the opportunity for increased fire behavior. Please visit the SWO Fire Data website for the latest pocket card, stats, and lightning maps....