Progress continues on area wildfires
Aided by favorable weather conditions, regional wildfire containment lines continue to grow, though evacuations aren't over yet.
Chetco Bar fire
184,208 acres, 5 percent contained
In Josephine County, about 10 miles along the Illinois River Road from the National Forest boundary west of Selma to Oak Flat are under Level 3 evacuation notice. A community meeting is slated for 6 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 10 at Illinois Valley High School in Cave Junction.
Though rains Thursday helped crews build fire lines, low humidity and temperatures in the low- to mid-80s mean crews expect the east zone of the fire to continue to smolder and creep.
Though smoke remains at unhealthy levels Saturday in Grants Pass and Cave Junction, clearer skies Friday allowed crews to fly helicopters for fire activity reconnaissance.
About 40 miles of old Biscuit Fire bulldozer lines were reopened and completed on the east end of the fire, and new bulldozer lines have been completed since Saturday, including two miles east of York Butte and 3½ miles west of Chrome Ridge to Flat Top.
Some 1,350 personnel are battling the blaze, including more than 225 Oregon National Guard soldiers — 214 guardsmen and women in Curry County serving as firefighters, roadblock security and support; and roughly 20 in Josephine County supporting three National Guard helicopters.
Closures remain in place at the Eight Dollar Mountain trailhead, and the National Guard is providing 24-hour roadblocks on Illinois River and Eight Dollar Mountain roads.
High Cascades complex
48,411 acres, 20 percent contained
The north entrance road into Crater Lake National Park reopened Saturday, and West Rim Drive reopened Friday evening for the weekend to accommodate Ride the Rim event traffic Saturday, and all concession facilities and services are open for park visitors. A Level 1 or "be ready" evacuation notice remains in effect for Mazama Village in Crater Lake National Park.
The complex, consisting of the Spruce Lake, Blanket Creek and North Pelican fires, showed minimal behavior Friday, and crews continued to assess risks and contingency lines.
Some 425 personnel are fighting the fire, including 13 crews, 15 fire engines, five bulldozers, 10 water tenders and six helicopters. Management of the fire near Crater Lake National Park was split into east and west zones Saturday, allowing the present management team to focus its containment lines around Highway 62 and Union Creek.
33,936 acres, 33 percent contained
Higher humidity and lower temperatures allowed the 581 personnel to make progress fighting the four-fire complex comprising blazes near Ruch, Applegate Lake, Williams and a section within the Klamath National Forest.
About 581 personnel are battling flames in the complex, comprising of 11 crews, 35 engines, 8 bulldozers, five water tenders and six helicopters.
The Burnt Peak fire nine miles southwest of Ruch, which just last weekend triggered a short-lived evacuation in the Applegate area, is now 77 percent contained and has not grown in several days, according to a release issued by the Rocky Mountain Incident Management Team Saturday morning. It's at 4,147 acres.
Near Williams, the Creedence fire is nearly halfway contained at 46 percent and 2,089 acres. The Bigelow fire is at 71 acres and 72 percent contained as crews focus on firelines and mop-up efforts.
The Abney fire is now in two sections, with one section in the Klamath National Forest near the Seiad Valley now fully contained.
The Abney section south of Applegate Lake continues to grow slowly to the south and is estimated at 37,161 acres and 12 percent contained, but threats to Horse Creek and the Seiad Valley have been greatly diminished at the north. Crews have completed their containment line on the east flank that reaches the Pacific Crest Trail.
A section of the PCT within the Klamath National Forest remains closed, as is the Grayback Trailhead near Williams and three sections of the Siskiyou Mountains Ranger District.