Saturday, August 13, 2016

Redwood Highway Fire Held at 50 Acres

The Redwood Highway Fire remains at 50 acres this evening and is 90 percent contained. Roadblocks on Deer Creek Road will be removed at 7:00 p.m. and the evacuation level for all areas around the burned area will drop to Level 1 (Ready) at the same time.

The fire started Friday afternoon in the community of Selma, located nine miles north of Cave Junction in southern Josephine County. The fire crossed Highway 199 near Ray's Market in Selma and continued burning east of the highway. Three homes and several outbuildings were destroyed.

Today, fire crews extinguished hot spots all around the fire's perimeter and a helicopter patrolled overhead watching for spot fires. Tonight, a 20-person supported by an engine and a water tender will continue mopping up and patrolling.

Wildland fire suppression crews from the Oregon Department of Forestry were aided today by engines and personnel from the Illinois Valley Fire District, Rural Metro Fire Department, Grants Pass Fire-Rescue and several private contractors.

The Oregon Department of Forestry and Oregon State Police continue their investigation into the cause of the Redwood Highway Fire.

Redwood Highway Fire Deemed Human-Caused

On August 12, 2016, a fire near Selma broke out burning approximately 50 acres.

The Oregon State Police Arson Unit along with the Oregon Department of Forestry began an investigation.  During the investigation, a Selma area transient was arrested on an unrelated warrant and lodged at the Josephine County Jail.

This person, Marcus A YEOMAN, age 35, quickly became the person of interest in the fire. The Oregon Department of Forestry and the Oregon State Police Arson Unit's investigation is finding that the fire was human-caused. On August 13, 2016 he was cited for Reckless Burning. This was after evidence revealed he had built a campfire which led to the wildland fire.

This is an ongoing investigation and no further information will be released at this time.

ODF Crews Work to Contain Five-Acre Wildfire East of Ashland

Oregon Department of Forestry firefighters from the Medford Unit are working this morning to extinguish the 5-acre Twentymile Springs Fire near Milepost 20 on Hwy 66, east of Ashland near Tubb Springs Wayside. The fire was reported at 6:50 a.m. by Soda Mtn. Lookout.

One large (Type 1) helicopter, four engine crews and a bulldozer have been assigned to the fire. Greensprings Fire-Rescue firefighters and equipment are also assisting. 

The cause of the fire is under investigation.

Crews making progress on Redwood Highway Fire

Fire crews worked through the night cooling hot spots and monitoring fire lines on the Redwood Highway Fire in Selma. The cool and calm nighttime temperatures allowed for continued progress to be made on the line with 87 percent containment. The fire size remains at approximately 50 acres. The cause of the fire is under investigation.

Just before sunrise, firefighters discovered a 1/100th of an acre spot fire 1,000 feet outside of the current fire line. Within minutes, firefighters extinguished the flames and formed a wet line along the perimeter. Throughout the day, ground crews and air attack will continue to monitor the fire securing the perimeter and watching for snags, spotting, and flare ups. The goal is to ensure the fire perimeter is 100 percent lined by this evening.

Firefighters working on structural protection and prevention this morning uncovered three homes, and at least five outbuildings  destroyed by the fire. It was originally thought by fire crews that only two homes were lost on Deer Creek Road; however, the daylight revealed that there were two homes on one property, a main house and guest house. All residents managed to safely evacuate. Firefighters will continue to search for additional structures damaged or threatened in the burned area.

Deer Creek Road remains under evacuation this morning. Residents on the 975 block and above on Deer Creek Rd. are at a "Be Set" Level 2 evacuation notice. Residents on the 974 block and below on Deer Creek Rd. remain at a "Go" Level 3 evacuation status. The road is closed to the public. After an additional assessment early this afternoon, Incident Command will revisit the option of reopening the road and changing evacuation levels. Residents seeking shelter assistance should visit the American Red Cross location in Cave Junction at 200 W. Watkins Street.

Redwood Highway is back open, but caution is advised. Firefighting operations are still occurring along the road and areas of smoke may be present.

The weather conditions today call for warm temperatures with variable wind gusts and low relative humidity. A fire weather watch will be in effect this afternoon beginning at 3 p.m. and ending at 8 p.m. We would like to thank all of the emergency agencies in Jackson and Josephine Counties that are assisting us and the public during this fire. We appreciate everyone's quick response and collaboration.

The Oregon Department of Forestry Southwest Oregon District would like to remind the public that regulated use closures are in effect on ODF-protected lands in Jackson and Josephine Counties.

Friday, August 12, 2016

Redwood Highway Fire

The first report of the Redwood Highway Fire in Selma came in at 3:34 p.m. Friday afternoon. At the time it was estimated at 1/10th of an acre in size with a consistent rate of growth burning in tall grass and dry brush on the west side of Redwood Highway. Within twenty minutes, the fire jumped the road and continued growing on the east side of Redwood Highway and up Deer Creek Road. The fire is now estimated to have grown to be between 50 to 75 acres with 85 percent dozer lined. We are working on an exact percentage of containment. The fire is under investigation.

Firefighters are currently working on holding the fire lines. Tree torching and spotting were initial issues firefighters on the ground were facing. Three Type 2 helicopters, a heavy helicopter, two air tankers, and one fixed-wing plane have been flying over the fire helping with cooling and suppression.

Residents on the 975 block and above on Deer Creek Road are at a Level 2 Evacuation. Homes on the 974 block and below on Deer Creek Road remain at a Level 3 Evacuation notice, along with all residents on Davis Creek Road. Four outbuildings and two homes were destroyed in the fire. The families of the two homes lost at 261 and 435 Deer Creek Road have been contacted. The American Red Cross is reaching out to help all families displaced by the Redwood Highway Fire at this time. All people originally evacuated to Boy Scout Camp near Lake Selmac are now being directed to the American Red Cross' location at the United Methodist Church at 200 W. Watkins Street in Cave Junction. We are also setting up a community information center at the Red Cross shelter.

Deer Creek Road and Davis Road will remain closed at this time. Redwood Highway is back open.

Currently, crews from the Oregon Department of Forestry, Illinois Valley Fire District, Rural Metro Fire, Jackson County Fire District 5, Jackson County Fire District 3, Medford Fire-Rescue, Ashland Fire-Rescue, Applegate Valley Fire District, Oregon State Police, Josephine County Sheriff's Office and Search & Rescue, Jackson County Emergency Management, Oregon Department of Transportation, Josephine County Public Works, American Medical Response, American Red Cross are all working together on different aspects of the fire response.

As always, we would like to remind the public that Fire Restrictions are in place on lands protected by the Oregon Department of Forestry in Jackson and Josephine Counties. For more on current fire regulations visit www.swofire.com.

Fire Information: (541)613-6313



Tuesday, August 9, 2016

‘If You Fly, We Can’t!’ PSA Now Available for Distribution

Wildfires are often fast-spreading and unpredictable making it difficult for ground crews to navigate alone. This is why firefighting aircraft are an integral part of fire suppression.

However, aircraft cannot be used to fight fire if UAS (Unmanned Aircraft Systems), more commonly known as drones, are detected above or within a 5-mile radius of a wildfire. Both UAS and firefighting aircraft fly at low altitudes creating the potential for a mid-air collision which can injure or kill firefighters in the sky, crews on the ground, and the neighboring public.

This dangerous situation is why we ground all aircraft until UAS are removed from a wildfire. While aircraft is suspended, wildfires have the capacity to grow larger threatening more lives and property.


Please join ODF Southwest Oregon District in sharing our message: ‘If you fly, we can't!’ Together, we can keep everyone in the air and on the ground safe allowing us to attack and suppress wildfires faster than if we worked alone.

Below is the link to our PSA and our Facebook page where the message is currently posted. Please share it on all platforms so that we may educate everyone on keeping drones away from wildfires.

ODF Southwest Oregon District YouTube:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EeBkLTsBGts

ODF Southwest Oregon District Facebook:
https://www.facebook.com/ODFSouthwest/

Monday, August 8, 2016

August 8 Fire Stats and Pocketcard Now Available

The ERC values along with fire growth is trending upward as we continue with the hot dry weather. This trend will continue through the forecast period as we again have triple digit temperatures and low humidity recoveries mid-week. For the latest updates on pocketcards and stats please visit the SWO Fire Data website.