Additional Resources Expected to Arrive Saturday to Help Local Firefighting Efforts

Tonight, ODF stated that firefighters continue to make progress on the Westside and Lightning Gulch Complexes in Jackson and Josephine counties.

The US National Weather Service Medford reported Wednesday evening’s thunderstorm resulted in about 230 lightning strikes in the area, leading to more than 50 fires within Oregon Department of Forestry’s Southwest Oregon District. These incidents are affecting both private and Bureau of Land Management (BLM) Land. Detection aircraft identified 10 additional holdover fires this morning, the largest being the Big Water Branch Fire, which was stopped at three acres.

Courtesy of ODF

The majority of fires within the Westside Complex on Tallowbox Mountain south of Applegate are lined and in full mop-up. The two largest fires, Keeler and Ladybug Gulch, are estimated at 60 and 70 acres respectively. Firefighters have a goal of completing both fire lines by Saturday afternoon. A firefighter sustained a minor injury today on the Ladybug Gulch Fire. The firefighter was treated and released. Safety remains a top priority for all firefighters; fire line supervisors are regularly communicating safety briefings and messages to firefighters, and working together to identify and mitigate potential hazards and unsafe situations.

In Josephine County, the Hog Creek and Rum Creek fires remain priorities on the Lightning Gulch Complex. The Hog Creek Fire stands at 26 acres and is fully lined. The Rum Creek Fire, situated in rocky, steep terrain, poses the biggest challenge and is now estimated to be 60 acres in size with no containment. Air tankers and helicopters spent much of the day holding it in check while crews worked on establishing contingency lines away from the edge of the fire’s perimeter.

Due to difficult terrain and a large amount of resources needed on these fire, a Type 2 Incident Management Team has been ordered to alleviate pressure on local crews and free up resources for any new fire starts that may. They team will arrive Saturday afternoon for an in-brief on both incidents; it is expected to take command Sunday morning.

The BLM has closed the Rainie Falls Trail until further notice due to fires that are close in proximity. The public is also asked to avoid Galice Road and the Grave Creek area in an effort to help protect firefighters and first responders while they remain dedicated to their incidents. The BLM is also encouraging recreational boaters to avoid the river between Hellgate Canyon and Grave Creek.

No homes are threatened, and no evacuation orders have been placed.

Source: ODF

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