ODF Continuing to Fight Multiple Fires, as One Firefighter Dies and One Injured in Line of Duty

Firefighters working the Westside and Lightning Gulch Complexes, located in Jackson and JosephineCounties respectively, were able to hold the majority of containment lines overnight and continue to build on forward progress and mop up operations.

Courtesy of ODF

Following a thorough run-through of the incidents in past 24 hours, the district was able to determine there are 48 fires total, eight on the Westside Complex in Jackson County and 40 on the Lightning Gulch Complex in Josephine County, affecting both private and Bureau of Land Management (BLM) land. Of the 48, 17 are completely extinguished and the remaining 33 are in various stages of being lined and mopped up.

On the Westside Complex, 60% of the accumulative fires on Tallowbox Mountain south of Applegate have been lined, and firefighters will remain engaged today. On the Lightning Gulch Complex, priorities remain the Hog Creek Fire, located north of Merlin, and the Rum Creek Fire, located near Rum Creek north of Galice, both estimated to be 30 acres in size.

Today, 17 handcrews of various size, 20 engines, seven water tenders and nine tree fallers are assigned to both complexes today and will be engaged on fires across the district. Various aircraft are available and will be utilized where necessary.

On Thursday, the death of a contract firefighter on a fire in Josephine County was confirmed by ODF and BLM officials. Preliminary information on the incident indicates the individual was critically injured after being struck by a tree, before succumbing to injuries at Asante Rogue Regional Medical Center in Medford. The individual’s name is being withheld pending coordination with next of kin. Additional information will be released as it is confirmed.

On a separate fire in Jackson County on Thursday, a firefighter was removed from the line after suffering a heat-related illness. They were treated by Applegate Valley Fire District personnel at the fire’s staging area. The safety of firefighters on the line is a top priority of both agencies as work continues on Friday.

Fireline leadership will be dedicating time to discussing these incidents with their teams and emphasizing the importance of prioritizing safety in all aspects of firefighting operations.

No homes are threatened, and no evacuation orders have been placed. Please be aware of any potential changes and follow Jackson County Emergency Management, Jackson County Sheriff’s Office, Josephine Co. Emergency Management and the Josephine County Sheriff’s Office for any evacuation information.

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