SW Oregon, September 5, 2019 – Resources continue to respond to new fire starts following the storm that brought with it nearly 800 lightning strikes across the Medford Weather Service’s forecast area.
On the RRSNF, there have been 7 confirmed fires thus far, all of which are staffed and less than 0.5 acre. Those seven fires include:
o Middle Fire in the High Cascades Ranger District’s Sky Lakes Wilderness, located approximately 2 miles northwest of Red Lake. Currently in mop-up stage, with 4 rappellers currently staffing.
o Needle Fire on the High Cascades RD is 1/10 of an acre in size, and is located approximately 1 mile south of Jim Creek Campground. Contained, and resources (1 helicopter and 1 engine) have left the site due to the onset of hazardous weather conditions.
o Buck Peak Fire on the Wild Rivers RD is 1/10 of an acre in size, and is located near the north boundary of the Oregon Caves National Monument and Preserve. The fire is lined and suppression work continues, with 2 engines on site.
o Elder Fire on the Wild Rivers RD is ½ acre in size, and is 50% mopped up with a hose lay around it. A water tender and a 20-person Initial Attack Crew is staffing.
o Ramsey Creek Fire on the Wild Rivers RD is 1/10 of an acre in size, and is approximately 2 miles from the Forest Boundary, east of Slate Creek Road. The fire is lined, and in the beginning stages of mop up, with a 10-person Type 2 Initial Attack Crew on site.
o Lake Mountain Fire on the Siskiyou Mountains RD is ½ an acre in size, with the following resources staffing through the day: 1 Type 2 Initial Attack 10-person crew, 1 Type 1 helicopter, and 3 engines. The fire is located on the eastern edge of the Oregon Caves National Monument and Preserve boundary.
o Flumet Fire on the Siskiyou Mountains RD is ½ an acre in size, and located approximately ½ mile south of Little Grayback Peak. The fire is lined, and crews are mopping up. Resources include 1 engine, 1 fire module, and 1 task force leader.
Thus far, there have been 15 smoke reports (i.e. unconfirmed fires), and Rogue Valley Interagency Dispatchers are busily responding to calls from resources as they work to respond to such reports across the Forest. As smoke checks are confirmed, appropriate resources will be dispatched to respond and suppress these starts.
Aircraft are continuing to offer support where needed, and will fly until 8:00 p.m., unless diminishing visibility conditions require earlier grounding time. Air reconnaissance and support will continue tomorrow, following this next storm cell’s retreat and as conditions allow.
Jeremy Marshall, Acting Deputy Forest Supervisor, says, “In anticipation of this storm event, we’ve increased our resources and we’re aggressively responding to all smoke reports across the forest. We continue to work with our partners, including ODF and BLM, and will continue this response until the storm has passed and the threat of new fires has diminished. However, we recognize the importance of remaining vigilant, long after the storm, as new fires can wait a bit before they become detected.”
The next round of storm activity is expected to continue this evening, possibly resulting in severe thunderstorms in some areas. People are encouraged to check the weather forecast from the Medford Weather Service for details, and to always adhere to the motto, “When thunder roars, go indoors!” For more on lightning safety awareness, please read these helpful tips from the National Weather Service.
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