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October 01, 2022
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Firefighters Engaged on Numerous Lightning-Caused Fires Across Jackson and Josephine Counties

Firefighters Engaged on Numerous Lightning-Caused Fires Across Jackson and Josephine Counties

Containment Lines Hold Overnight in Lightning Gulch, Westside Complexes

JACKSON & JOSEPHINE COUNTIES, Ore. (Aug. 19, 2022) – Firefighters working the Westside and Lightning Gulch Complexes, located in Jackson and Josephine Counties respectively, were able to hold the majority of containment lines overnight and continue to build on forward progress and mop up operations. Following a thorough run-through of the incidents in past 24 hours, the district was able to determine there are 48 fires total, eight on the Westside Complex in Jackson County and 40 on the Lightning Gulch Complex in Josephine County, affecting both private and Bureau of Land Management (BLM) land. Of the 48, 17 are completely extinguished and the remaining 33 are in various stages of being lined and mopped up.

On the Westside Complex, 60% of the accumulative fires on Tallowbox Mountain south of Applegate have been lined, and firefighters will remain engaged today. On the Lightning Gulch Complex, priorities remain the Hog Creek Fire, located north of Merlin, and the Rum Creek Fire, located near Rum Creek north of Galice, both estimated to be 30 acres in size.

Today, 17 handcrews of various size, 20 engines, seven water tenders and nine tree fallers are assigned to both complexes today and will be engaged on fires across the district. Various aircraft are available and will be utilized where necessary.

On Thursday, the death of a contract firefighter on a fire in Josephine County was confirmed by ODF and BLM officials. Preliminary information on the incident indicates the individual was critically injured after being struck by a tree, before succumbing to injuries at Asante Rogue Regional Medical Center in Medford. The individual’s name is being withheld pending coordination with next of kin. Additional information will be released as it is confirmed. On a separate fire in Jackson County on Thursday, a firefighter was removed from the line after suffering a heat-related illness. They were treated by Applegate Valley Fire District personnel at the fire’s staging area. The safety of firefighters on the line is a top priority of both agencies as work continues on Friday. Fireline leadership will be dedicating time to discussing these incidents with their teams and emphasizing the importance of prioritizing safety in all aspects of firefighting operations.

No homes are threatened, and no evacuation orders have been placed. Please be aware of any potential changes and follow Jackson County Emergency Management, Jackson County Sheriff’s Office, and the Josephine County Sheriff’s Office for any evacuation information.


JACKSON & JOSEPHINE COUNTIES, Ore. (August 18, 2022) – Despite numerous fires across Jackson and Josephine counties, firefighters were able to hold the majority of containment lines on Thursday. There are currently 56 total fires across the district following Wednesday night thunderstorms across the region, breaking down to eight in Jackson County, named as the Westside Complex, and 48 in Josephine County, called the Lightning Gulch Complex. These incidents vary in stages, from active operations to 100% lined and mopped up, affecting both private and Bureau of Land Management (BLM) land.

Resources were able to hold the largest fire at an estimated 40 acres on Thursday. That incident, mistaken by nightshift crews as the Tallowbox Fire, is actually the Keeler Fire. The Tallowbox Fire, originally reported as an estimated 30 acres this morning, is actually an estimated five. These neighboring incidents are two of four fires located near Tallowbox Mountain in the Applegate Valley to the east of Thompson Creek Road. In the same area, the Ladybug Gulch Fire proved to be the most challenging of the day, requiring multiple retardant drops from ODF Large Air Taker (LAT) 104; it’s currently holding at an estimated 21 acres. The fourth fire in this location is the Tallowbox Cutoff Fire, estimated to be 1/10th of an acre, is 100% lined and 80% mopped up.

In Josephine County, the Hog Creek Fire, located north of Merlin, and the Rum Creek Fire, located near Rum Creek north of Galice, are both estimated to be 30 acres in size. The Granite Hill Fire is estimated to be 14 acres in size, located north of Grants Pass and east of Colonial Valley.

Weather conditions aided firefighters on the line, as temperatures remained cooler than expected and predicated thunderstorms did not materialize, prompting the National Weather Service Medford Office to cancel a red flag warning. These milder conditions contributed to slightly decreased fire behavior, allowing resources to hold containment lines and complete mop-up operations on some incidents.

Due to the extremely busy nature of dispatching, fires, locations, estimated sizes and containment information is still being organized. This information will be released when it is accurately complied, however priorities have remained providing updates and relaying information to our firefighters in the field and in the air on active incidents.

No homes are threatened, and no evacuation orders have been placed. Please be aware of any potential changes and follow Jackson County Emergency Management, Jackson County Sheriff’s Office, and the Josephine County Sheriff’s Office for any evacuation information.

Fire information is always at www.swofire.com or Facebook page @ODF Southwest Oregon District.

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