Recent thunderstorms that swept through the region have resulted in a busy day for initial attack crews as they battle the aftermath of approximately 200 cloud-to-ground lightning strikes. These storms brought varying amounts of rainfall, ranging from negligible to half an inch, depending on the location.
Fire lookouts have been diligently spotting new fires sparked by the lightning strikes. The Rogue River-Siskiyou National Forest (RRSNF) currently reports 41 confirmed fires across the Wild Rivers, High Cascades, and Siskiyou Mountains Ranger Districts. These fires range in size from a lone tree to the larger Kanaka fire, which has spread across 40 acres on the Siskiyou Mountains Ranger District.
In response to the escalating situation, officials have mobilized extensive air and ground resources from across the state. This includes the deployment of 4 rappel crews, 2 Very Large Air Tankers (VLATs), 4 Large Air Tankers (LATs), two Modular Airborne Firefighting Systems (C 130 aircraft/MAFFS), two type 1 (heavy capacity) Helicopters, 1 air attack aircraft, 1 reconnaissance aircraft, and 1 lead plane.
To bolster initial attack efforts, smokejumpers and additional aerial firefighting resources have been brought in, with more en route. Today, smokejumpers are focused on the Kanaka Fire, and this process will continue into tomorrow.
Unfortunately, the situation remains challenging as lightning is forecasted to persist in the geographical area until Tuesday. In light of this prediction, RRSNF has ordered extra resources to sustain the ongoing firefighting efforts and prepare for potential new fire starts fueled by the anticipated lightning.
Mike McCann, Deputy Fire Staff of Operations, commended the dedication of the firefighters in these trying circumstances. He emphasized, “Firefighters continue to do an amazing job in these tough conditions, and the additional resources that we have ordered will reinforce and help keep new and existing fire footprints to a minimum.” McCann highlighted the collaborative efforts with partners Medford BLM and ODF, reaffirming the commitment to aggressive initial attack strategies to protect the surrounding communities.
Medford Alert will continue to monitor these fires and provide updates as they become available.