ODF has provided an update in the number our ongoing firefights happening in Jackson and Josephine Counties. Officials say out of the 50 fires that were ignited from the August 17th thunderstorms, just one fire, (Rum Creek Fire) remains without a complete containment line.
The Rum Creek fire is currently estimated at about 100 acres. Collectively, the fires from the Westside and Lightning Gulch complexes have burned a little over 300 acres with Rum Creek (100), Ladybug (87), Keeler (60) and Tallowbox (26) being the largest.
Pacific Northwest Incident Management Team 13, led by Incident Commander Brian Gales, officially took command of the Rum Creek and Hog Creek fires within the Lightning Gulch Complex this morning.
Local resources will continue to mop-up and patrol the other smaller fires in the area. Crews are also working on two lightning-caused holdover fires discovered early last night in the Jack Creek area. Each of the two fires is less than two acres in size. While a third fire was initially reported, crews have not been able to locate it; resources assigned to the other two incidents will be able to provide a swift response should the third fire not be a duplicate report.
Increased winds forecasted for this afternoon are expected to test established fire lines as crews continue the mop-up process. No homes are threatened, and no evacuation orders have been placed.
Firefighter success over the past week can be attributed to many things, including quick and efficient response by initial attack resources, the availability of resources at the height of fire season, and cooperating weather. The vigilance of local communities has been just as critical in the prevention of human-caused fires that has allowed firefighters to focus on non-preventable lightning- caused fires.
To date, Oregon Department of Forestry’s Southwest Oregon District has responded to 131 human- caused fires that have burned just 71 acres this year, compared to our 10-year average of 164 human-caused fires for 520 acres. These efforts have not gone unnoticed, and officials say they appreciate the partnerships they have with communities in keeping human-caused fires off landscape; it has been truly appreciated over the last couple days, especially.
As a reminder, the Bureau of Land Management has closed the Rainie Falls Trail until further notice. Help protect firefighters and first responders by
avoiding Galice Road and the Grave Creek area. The BLM is encouraging recreational boaters to avoid the river between Hellgate Canyon and Grave Creek.