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All evacuation advisories lifted for Rogue River Drive fire

SHADY COVE - Containment efforts continued in the right direction on the Rogue River Drive fire Thursday.

The remaining level 1 evacuation advisories for residents living near the fire were were lifted Thursday morning, the Oregon Department of Forestry reported.

That includes residences along Dry Creek Road, Rhodes Lane, Kitty Lane, Osprey Drive, Greenleaf Drive and Colfax Way. Recent record-breaking rainfall and cool temperatures have assisted firefighters in beating back the 584-acre fire, southeast of Shady Cove. The blaze was 45 percent contained Thursday, with a line fully drawn and firefighters mopping up hot spots 250 feet into its interior.

"Everything is going well. The cooler temperatures are wonderful," said ODF spokesman Brian Ballou. "This is a wonderful change."

The fire roared to life Monday afternoon, sparked by lightning after another round of thunderstorms drifted into the area. Crews originally thought they had a handle on it Tuesday when erratic winds shoved the flames over the south and southeast containment lines. The fire grew to nearly 600 acres, necessitating evacuation advisories and drawing more than 200 personnel to the front lines. Dry Creek Road residents received a level 3 advisory, meaning residents were advised to leave the area immediately, though some opted to stay behind.

Cooler temperatures and record-setting rainfall that fell Tuesday afternoon to Wednesday afternoon — close to half an inch in Medford — turned the tables in firefighters' favor. No structures were damaged and no injuries were reported.

"We're glad that everything occurred as it did," Ballou said.

ODF officials reported there were still roadblocks on Rogue River Drive because of firefighting equipment on the road. Only local residents and fire personnel are allowed through. The same 200-plus firefighters remain for mop-up operations. Water tenders continue to travel back and forth between the Takelma Park boat ramp and fire access roads, with bulldozers loading and unloading along the road edges.

"It's like elephants on the loose," Ballou said, adding the road will likely be reopened sometime today.

Reach reporter Ryan Pfeil at 541-776-4468 or rpfeil@mailtribune.com. Follow him at www.twitter.com/ryanpfeil.