All Hands on Deck, as ODF Responds to Approx 50 Fires After Storms

Here is the link to our coverage of the storms last night, along with initial firefight callouts.

ODF says that firefighters are continuing to aggressively engage on numerous fires across the Oregon Department of Forestry Southwest Oregon District following thunderstorms across Jackson and Josephine counties Wednesday night.

In a 13-hour period, ODF has responded to approximately 50 reports of fire across both counties. Firefighters are actively engaged on five fires on the Medford Unit that make up the Westside Complex, and 34 fires on the Grants Pass unit that make up the Lightning Gulch Complex.

Courtesy of ODF

The largest fire is currently the Tallowbox Fire, located on Tallowbox Mountain south of Applegate; two fires merged to create this incident, currently estimated to be 30 acres in size.

In Josephine County, the Granite Hill Fire is located north of Grants Pass and east of Colonial Valley, is estimated to be five acres. Firefighters are on scene and actively engaged on this incident. The majority of fires remain small and are in mop-up phases.

Officials remark that today, all 150+ district firefighters, dispatchers and detection specialists are on duty, and additional contract resources have been brought on as well, including ten 20- person crews, ten engines, two water tenders and four sets of tree fallers. ODF has also ordered an additional three Type 1 and three Type 2 helicopters to bolster air resources. Aircraft will be utilized where needed, as the first reconnaissance flight of the day began at 8a to monitor current incidents, provide information from the air and scout out any new reports of fire.

ODF leadership is dividing these incidents by area to ensure experienced personnel are engaged on the line with firefighters today. Four supervisors will each take a quarter of the two-county area, with an additional supervisor available to handle initial attack on new fire starts within the district.

ODF is currently working to create a list of fire names, locations, sizes and personnel, however there is a lot of information to sort through to ensure accurate information.

Weather conditions will support increased fire activity, including a red flag warning and threat of thunderstorms that are expected to remain in effect throughout the day. There will likely be additional holdover fires and new starts that ignite today; if you see new smoke in your area, report it by calling 911.

At this time, no homes are threatened, and no evacuation orders are in place. Please be aware of any potential changes and follow the instructions of Jackson County Emergency Management, Jackson County Sheriff’s Office, Josephine Co. Emergency Management and Josephine County Sheriff’s Office for any evacuation information.

Medford Alert will continue to monitor and provide updates as they become available.