In the western portion of the Smith River Complex North, significant progress was made on the secondary control line along Forest Road 1106. This progress came at the cost of a forest road closure that was implemented to ensure the safe removal of large trees, brushing, and road improvements. Unfortunately, fire activity escalated due to the hot and dry weather conditions, resulting in the consumption of fuels within the fire’s perimeter.
As of today, the northern edge of the fire has been successfully contained, and firefighting crews have initiated mop-up operations. On the northwest edge, specifically in the Taylor Creek area, teams are closely monitoring fire behavior to locate and extinguish any remaining heat sources. They are receiving support from air operations and bucket drops.
On the east side of the fire, Divisions I and K are being merged, and the focus now shifts to suppression repair. This involves chipping excess debris and water-barring dozer lines. It’s important to note that hot and dry weather conditions persist, and resources are on standby for initial attack in case of any new fire starts.
The Rogue River-Siskiyou National Forest has issued an area and road closure for a 400-yard-wide corridor centered on Forest Road 1106 (South Elk Mountain Road), Forest Road 1205 (Lower Wheeler Road), and Forest Road 1983 (Mt. Emily Road). This closure began on September 14 and will remain in effect until October 31, 2023. The closure is essential to facilitate safe operations related to the ongoing Smith River Complex fire. Additional closures are in effect on nearby land areas.
In terms of evacuations, the area east of US-199 from mile post 39 to the Oregon/California border in southwest Josephine County is currently at Level 1 – BE READY. On the west side of US-199, it remains at Level 2 – GET SET. These evacuation levels are subject to change as fire conditions and hazards are further mitigated. For real-time updates and alerts, residents are encouraged to monitor the Rogue Valley Emergency Management site and sign up for evacuation alerts at rvem.org.
Smoke from area fires is expected to continue moving offshore and towards locations southwest of the Rogue and Illinois Valleys. Throughout the day, residents in areas such as O’Brien, Agness, and Cave Junction can anticipate increasing surface impacts, including haze and smoke. These conditions are expected to persist into the early evening, with smoke gradually moving inland.
Here is the latest data on this fire:
- Start Date: August 15, 2023
- Cause: Lightning
- Containment: 38%
- Total Size: 88,970 acres
- Size in Oregon: 11,811 acres
- Total Personnel: 1,601
- Crews: 42
- Helicopters: 11
- Engines: 67
- Bulldozers: 11
- Water Tenders: 25
- Masticators: 13
- Skid Steer: 1
You can track this fire through our 2023 Wildfire Season partner’s Wildfire Aware app.