Crews contain Brimstone fire

Labrador fire shows signs of slowing, but other Southern Oregon blazes keep expanding

Firefighters have lassoed the roughly 2,400-acre Brimstone fire, making it the first of the five southwest Oregon wildfires sparked by lightning on July 26 to be ringed by fire lines.

Putting the Brimstone fire, burning half a dozen miles northwest of Sunny Valley, in the mop-up stage is an important step, fire officials said.

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"It is now 100 percent contained," observed Don Ferguson, a spokesman for one of the fire command centers. "That has allowed most of the firefighters on it to be dispersed to other fires."

All told, the five wildfires have now burned more than 57,000 acres. There are 5,571 firefighters deployed to the fires.

The largest fire remains the Douglas Complex, burning about seven miles north of Glendale, at 38,400 acres, Ferguson said.

The Big Windy fire in the Lower Rogue River drainage some 25 miles northwest of Grants Pass is at about 10,850 acres. Firefighters plan to use Bear Camp Road to the south and the Rogue River to the north as main fire lines.

The fire could threaten several historical structures in the Lower Rogue drainage, including Black Bar Lodge, the Zane Grey cabin, Marial Lodge and the Rogue River Ranch.

The Whiskey fire, burning a half-dozen miles east of Tiller, is 7,400 acres, while the Labrador fire west of Selma on the edge of the Kalmiopsis Wilderness remains at 2,020 acres.

The Labrador fire is showing signs of flagging as it creeps into the area burned by the 2002 Biscuit fire, officials said, although they caution that the fire is far from out.

The fire remains west of the Illinois River near Oak Flat, with the river serving as a fire line on that fire's eastern flank, they said. The western edge of the fire has largely stalled at Nome Creek because of the lack of available fuels and moderate fire weather, they added.

Like most forest fires, the five blazes are not uniformly blackening the entire area within their respective perimeters, Ferguson observed.

"The terrain is so rough and rocky and the fuel is so broken up, the fires run out of fuel here and there," he said. "When you fly over a fire, it looks more like a case of mange than a good haircut."

Meanwhile, the Northern California fire burning near the Salmon River four miles west of Sawyers Bar has grown to more than 5,250 acres. That fire, which started July 31, was human-caused and is being investigated, officials said.

Reach reporter Paul Fattig at 541-776-4496 or

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