Smith River Complex Fire Containment Jumps to 65%

Firefighters battling the Smith River Complex Fire are making significant progress in containing the blaze, with containment lines extended to 65% on the northern edge of the fire. Despite challenging weather conditions, fire managers express confidence that the fire will not breach this containment line.

As of yesterday, minimal fire activity remains in the interior of the fire area. Firefighting crews have been diligently working on the northwest edge of the fire, addressing pockets of unburned vegetation. While fire activity increased slightly in the powerline corridor, containment lines held firm.

Crews remain committed to monitoring, mopping up, and securing control of the north and northwest portions of the fire boundary. Their focus also extends to protecting the powerline corridor along the 316 road. On the eastern flank of the fire, efforts are underway to remove hoses, temporary water tanks, and other fire suppression infrastructure around private property, as the risk of fire spread in that area has subsided.

Residents can expect decreasing smoke throughout the area today, thanks to reduced local fire activity. As for air quality, Grants Pass, Medford, and Ashland are currently enjoying GOOD/MODERATE air quality, while O’Brien and Cave Junction will continue to experience some smoke impacts through the afternoon. It’s important to note that smoke levels can change rapidly, contingent on weather conditions.

The Rogue River-Siskiyou National Forest has issued an area and road closure affecting 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 was initiated on September 14 and will remain in effect until October 31, 2023. Its purpose is to ensure safe operations related to the Smith River Complex North. Closures on BLM land are also in place to support firefighting efforts.

Here is the latest data available:

  • Size: The total area affected by the Smith River Complex North Fire stands at 92,180 acres, with 12,460 acres impacted in Oregon.
  • Total Personnel: Currently, 1,473 personnel are dedicated to managing the complex.
  • Start Date: The fire ignited on August 15, 2023.
  • Containment: As of now, containment has reached 65%.
  • Cause: The fire was ignited by lightning.
  • Resources: The firefighting effort boasts 37 crews, 11 helicopters, 66 engines, 8 bulldozers, 26 water tenders, 14 masticates, and 1 Skid Steer.

Firefighters and emergency responders continue their work to contain and manage the Smith River Complex Fire. With containment steadily increasing, there is growing optimism that the fire’s threat will soon be mitigated, bringing relief to the affected communities. Residents are encouraged to stay informed and heed any evacuation orders or safety guidelines issued by local authorities.

You can track this fire through our 2023 Wildfire Season partner’s Wildfire Aware app.

Source: USFS

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