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Crews strengthen lines around Rogue River area fire

Night crews strengthened lines around a 32-acre wildfire that threatened Rogue River area properties earlier this week, but evacuation warnings were not yet entirely lifted Thursday.

As of Thursday morning, Oregon Department of Forestry crews had secured a 75-foot perimeter around the Fielder Creek fire, and a team of four crews, seven engines, two fallers and three water tenders planned to double that line by the end of the day, according to a news release from ODF.

The cause of the fire is still under investigation, and evacuation warnings have been downgraded to Level 1 “Be Ready” for residents in the 100 to 1400 blocks of Fielder Creek Road in Rogue River, according to ODF.

The fire broke shortly after 5:30 p.m. Tuesday evening, and within hours prompted evacuation warnings for dozens of properties along Fielder Creek Road.

Because crews are making steady progress, ODF says it doesn’t intend to provide any future updates on the Fielder Creek fire unless conditions dramatically change. Locals may see smoke in the Fielder Creek area because firefighters are targeting the wildfire’s hot spots in the mop-up stage.

Fire crews will keep working the fire 24 hours a day until they no longer detect smoke. Afterward, crews will regularly patrol the area for signs of smoke.

The Fielder Creek fire is one of 299 fires that have burned a combined 335 acres in Jackson and Josephine counties during the 2021 fire season, according to ODF spokesperson Natalie Weber. Considering that the Rogue Valley has faced extreme drought conditions this summer, “we feel these statistics speak for themselves,” Weber said.