Rain does little to quell region's wildfires

The rain associated with the thunderstorms rolling through southwestern Oregon have done little to dampen the large wildfires already burning in the region.

Some rain was reported overnight on the 14,008-acre Big Windy Complex fire burning eight miles northwest of Galice in the lower Rogue River watershed. More lightning was forecast for that area with a 30 percent chance of rain. There is a potential for brief yet heavy rainfall, fire officials said.

The fire is 5 percent contained, with 1,339 firefighters assigned to the blaze.

If the smoke from the fires lift, water and retardant drops will be made on hot spots, officials said.

Meanwhile, burnout operations on the south flank along Bear Camp Road have been completed with crews now mopping up along the road. Elsewhere on the fire, equipment is being used to build a dozer line on a ridge to create the western fire line, but the work is progressing slowly because of the difficult terrain.

Firefighters have been staged north of the river to watch for spot fires caused by embers blowing ahead of the main fire. Other crews have burned out around the historic Zane Grey cabin and Black Bar Lodge.

Roads, trails and the river remain closed to the public.

A Level 2 evacuation notice has been posted by the Josephine County Sheriff's Office for Marial Lodge east to Grave Creek and along what is known as the Marial Byway. That level evacuation means people living in that area should be ready to leave at a moment's notice.

A Level 1 evacuation notice has been issued for the Galice Access Road area, including around the Grave Creek Bridge along Galice Road. That level evacuation alerts residents that they should prepare for evacuation.

Estimated containment of that fire is Sept. 1.

The Douglas Complex fire largely in Douglas County has grown to more than 42,000 acres.

In that complex, centered about seven miles north of Glendale, the largest is the 21,598-acre Rabbit Mountain fire, which continues to expand to the southwest. The other main fire in that complex is the Dads Creek fire near Grave Creek, which is now about 20,794 acres, although fire lines are near completion on the south end, officials said.

The Whiskey Complex fire near Tiller has burned 10,466 acres as of early today. It is about 35 percent contained by fire lines.

— Paul Fattig

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