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Crews line Selma-area fire, expect containment in a week

Firefighters expect to contain the stubborn Oak Flat fire burning in a rugged section of the Rogue River-Siskiyou National Forest by Aug. 31.

A line has been looped around the 4,400-acre Selma-area fire, which is considered 65 percent contained, said veteran firefighter Don Ferguson, spokesman for the national overhead team managing the firefighting effort.

"Full containment reflects confidence that will be the final perimeter," he said, adding that the fire isn't likely to burn more than 5,500 acres at the outside.

The fire is about 20 miles southwest of Grants Pass in the lower Illinois River drainage near the confluence of Briggs Creek.

A roughly 600-acre unburned area inside the fire line is expected to be burned out by firefighters as part of the strategy to remove fuel from the main fire, Ferguson said.

There are now about 980 firefighters and half a dozen helicopters assigned to the fire, which is believed to have been human-caused.

The fire season is at its most flammable point right now, he said.

"We are in the most extreme fire danger with low humidity, high temperatures and breezy," he said.

Farther west in the national forest, firefighters have constructed a fire line around the Cedar Creek Fire in the Gold Beach Ranger District about 15 miles east of Brookings, reported forest spokesman Paul Galloway.

Although earlier estimates placed the fire at about 70 acres, a more accurate assessment reduced it to 23 acres, he said.

Containment is expected today, he said, adding that firefighters are beginning the process of mopping up and checking for hot spots.

Eighty ground-based firefighters and 20 smokejumpers were deployed to the fire. No structures are threatened. Cause of the fire remains under investigation.

— Paul Fattig