Thunderstorms late Tuesday started seven small fires on lands protected by the Oregon Dept. of Forestry’s Medford Unit. Fire lookouts and reconnaissance aircraft are scouting the forestlands for further signs of smoke.
Lightning strikes were heavily concentrated across from Mt. Ashland to Grizzly Peak, and the Butte Creek drainage.
The fires found yesterday and early this morning include:
Pilot Rock Road, 1.5 acres
Highway 140 Mile Marker 18, .25 acre
Rancheria, .25 acre
Two fires .10 acre each and two fires .01 acre each
In the Southwest Oregon District’s Grants Pass Unit, crews completed the fireline around the 232-acre Reeves Creek Fire, which broke out late Monday south of Selma in southern Josephine County. Hose lines are also completed strung around the fire and day shift crews will be mopping up hot spots 100-150 feet inside the fireline. Some fireline relocation is also taking place to reduce the distance between the burned area and the fireline.
The containment level has been rolled back to 50 percent (it was reported to be 90 percent late yesterday) because of concerns about the weather. A Red Flag Warning is in effect today for much of ODF’s Southwest Oregon District, and the Reeves Creek Fire area may receive strong, erratic winds if thunderstorms develop again over the Siskiyou Mtns. The temperature is expected to hit 100 degrees again today, and vegetation in the fire area is extremely dry.
More than 270 firefighters are working the day shift, and they are supported by 13 engines, five helicopters, four bulldozers and five water tenders. Air tankers are available if needed.
A Level 1 evacuation notice remains in effect for the Wild Park Lane area, located east of Hwy 199 south of Selma. Reeves Creek Road between Lake Selmac and Hwy 199 also remains in effect; travel on the road is restricted to fire-related traffic and residents.
The cause of the Reeves Creek Fire is under investigation.
The Oregon Dept. of Forestry’s Southwest Oregon District protects 1.8 million acres of state, private, Bureau of Land Management, and county forestlands in Jackson and Josephine counties.