Firefighters made excellent progress on the Collings Mountain Fire overnight, lining 90% of the perimeter and beginning mop-up operations. All forward progress has been stopped and there is currently no active fire on the landscape. The final size of the fire is seven acres, and the cause remains under investigation.
The Collings Mountain Fire was first reported shortly before 1:30 p.m. on Wednesday, June 29, 2022 by Southwest Oregon District Detection Center staff, who spotted the smoke in routine scans of the area. U.S. Forest Service Rogue River Siskiyou National Forest and ODF firefighters responded, as the initial report placed the incident in a remote area near the border of private and national forest land, approximately 1.5 miles west of Applegate Lake.
When firefighters arrived in the area, they were able to confirm the fire was burning on private land on a steep, 80-90% grade slope, approximately one mile from the nearest road. Due to the difficultly of the location, a Type 2 helicopter was ordered to begin water bucket drops while firefighters hiked into the area.
The area where the fire was burning contains mostly heavy timber with rocky ground, and our bulldozers were initially ordered, but due to large boulders, were ineffective in creating a fire line; this left the entirety of the control line to be dug by hand, which firefighters were able to nearly complete in the first 15 hours of the incident.
Today, firefighters will work on completing the fire line and continue the mop-operations that our night crews were able to begin early this morning. There are 81 people assigned to the fire today, including three 20-person crews, a type 3 engine, three type 6 engines, four water tenders and a tree faller. If aircraft are needed, they will be ordered.
There are safety concerns for our firefighters today; the steep slope remains a challenge, and hazard trees and rolling boulders are posing a significant risk to crews. Keeping these things in mind, we will continue to work diligently on mop-up operations, and be ready to respond to any additional fires that are reported today.
Fire season information is available online on Facebook page: @ODFSouthwest and website: www.swofire.com.