Firefighters with the Oregon Department of Forestry Southwest Oregon District were kept busy over the Fourth of July holiday weekend following a thunderstorm that rolled through Jackson County on Saturday and Josephine County on Sunday. In all, seven fires have resulted from lightning strikes thus far, one in Josephine County, and the other six in Jackson.
The largest fire, and the only one firefighters are still engaged on, is the Skookum Creek Fire, located two miles north of the Oregon/California border in the Soda Mountain Wilderness. Following accurate GPS mapping, the fire has been determined to be six acres. As of Tuesday morning, it’s 100% lined and 25% mopped up. Firefighters are facing challenges following the recent rains; the road they were using to access the fire was washed out overnight, making the hike in much longer and more difficult. Hazard trees are also posing a threat to resources. Today, 71 people are assigned to this incident, including four hand crews, three Type 6 engines, a water tender and ODF overhead personnel.
The other five fires in Jackson County included the Rattlesnake Point Fire, located off of Dead Indian Memorial Road southeast of Ashland, the Y Creek Fire, located on Mt. Ashland to the north of Mt. Ashland Ski Road, the Valley View Road Fire, located east of Valley View Road, the Worthington Fire, located near Worthington Road northeast of Eagle Point and the Hobart Fire, located in the Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument. The largest of these fires was the Rattlesnake Point Fire, caught at one acre. In Josephine County, the Ajax Gulch Fire was reported July 3, following a lightning strike west of Wolf Creek. When firefighters arrived on scene, they found a single tree had been struck and was on fire. They were able to extinguish it, with the final fire size being 1/100th of an acre. All six of these fires are extinguished.
For the next couple of weeks, ODF firefighters will be patrolling these areas affected by lightning for any potential holdover fires. The Detection Center staff will be monitoring cameras in these areas as well, and will order reconnaissance flights when necessary. ODF asks the public to be aware of the potential for new fire starts and report all fires by calling 911.
While much of southern Oregon has received rainfall, the risk for fires to start and spread has not decreased; be aware that regulations are still in effect on ODF-protected land in Jackson and Josephine counties
Courtesy of ODF