ODF reports that despite numerous challenges, firefighters are holding containment lines on the Wards Creek Fire, located in the hills above the 3100-block of Wards Creek Road east of Rogue River. The fire continued to push to the east, growing to an estimated 10 acres, however it remains 40% lined. The fire is burning on private and Bureau of Land Management (BLM) land and has been determined to be caused by lightning.
On Wednesday, three 20-person crews were assigned to the incident, as well as numerous engines, tree fallers, a water tender, bulldozer, and two Type 2 helicopters. Increased heat in addition to steep terrain and dense brush fueled fire behavior. Tanker 104 was ordered to drop two loads of retardant on the east flank, bolstering perimeter lines. Meanwhile, tree fallers were able to remove roughly 50% of the hazardous trees on the fire, greatly reducing the risk to firefighters on the incident. This work will continue on Thursday.
During Wednesday’s dayshift, a firefighter suffered a heat-related illness while on the line. With the help of the Jackson County Sheriff Oregon and Brim Aviation, the firefighter was transported by air to the bottom of the road and taken to Three Rivers Medical Center by Jackson County Fire District 1 personnel. Tonight, the firefighter is reported to be in stable condition. Hydration and breaks are a priority on the fire line, and as temperatures continue to trend upward, the safety of firefighters remains a top priority.
Overnight, three new 20-person hand crews will be assigned to the incident, along multiple engines, a water tender and ODF overhead personnel. Goals remain closing the fire line, and firefighters will take advantage of cooler conditions overnight to continue this progress. At this time, no structures are threatened.