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Gusting winds, dissipating smoke expected to increase fire activity

Containment rose to 70% on the Patton Meadow fire in the Fox complex near Lakeview on Wednesday morning, as wildland fire crews focused efforts on the north perimeter of the fire along Cottonwood Road.

The 8,947-acre fire drew additional crews to remove hazardous trees and expedite mop up in the northern section, raising total personnel on the fire to 699. Crews continue to monitor for spot fires outside the fire perimeter and repair work has begun in areas that have reached complete containment.

The Southern Area Red Team took command Wednesday at 6 a.m. of the Rough Patch complex (25,711 acres, 3% contained) and Jack fire (23,823 acres, 53% contained) in the Umpqua National Forest, relieving Great Basin Incident Management Team 2.

Firefighters completed burnout operations on the west flank of the Chaos fire, and the west-central area of the Little Bend fire was reported as contained in Wednesday’s update.

Containment lines held on the west, north and east sides of the Jack fire, bolstering containment, while the south and southwest flanks experience “moderate” fire activity.

Fire behavior was expected to increase Wednesday due to low relative humidity, gusting winds and dissipating smoke.

In the Devil’s Knob complex, also burning in the Umpqua National Forest, crews leveraged moderated fire activity to construct direct containment line on the northwest edge of the 11,157-acre Smith fire, and continued strategic firing operations along the southern perimeter of the 12,470-acre Big Hamlin fire as weather conditions permitted.

Smoke was expected to clear out of the Medford, Grants Pass and Roseburg areas late Wednesday afternoon, raising air quality to “good” and “moderate,” but linger on the east side of the Cascades and Shady Cove, with air quality remaining unhealthy for people in sensitive groups through Thursday.