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Forestry crews line Josephine fire

Full containment expected by week’s end

A 22-acre fire burning in the Rogue River-Siskiyou National Forest was considered fully lined Tuesday, with forestry officials forecasting full containment by the end of the week.

Dubbed the Josephine fire, it’s burning on the Wild Rivers Ranger District in a hard-to-reach spot on the back side of Woodcock Mountain near Josephine Creek, just outside the Biscuit fire burn scar. Crews first responded to the blaze Sunday.

The fire can be accessed only on the ground by some forest roads that don’t receive much maintenance, U.S. Forest Service public affairs officer Virginia Gibbons said.

“Some of the more rugged, hard-to-travel (roads), because they’re not used a lot,” Gibbons said, adding crews utilized 4x4 utility transport vehicles to make the trip.

“It was that rugged of a road bed,” Gibbons said. “That always is really slow-going, just getting the crews to it.”

The fire’s slow-moving nature, aided by higher elevation and moister fuels, has been a boon to firefighters, Gibbons said.

“It’s almost like a prescribed fire, because it’s moving very slow and on the ground, so it was just basically consuming fuels in the way that we like fuels to be consumed,” Gibbons said. “That’s the silver lining.”

A Type 1 helicopter assisted firefighters from the air with water bucket drops. Crews from multiple agencies, including the Rogue River Interagency Hotshots and a 20-person hand crew from Grayback Forestry, remain on scene. The helicopter will continue to assist with mop-up activities Wednesday.

Reach Mail Tribune web editor Ryan Pfeil at 541-776-4468 or rpfeil@rosebudmedia.com. Follow him on Twitter at @ryanpfeil.