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Garner Complex surpasses 25,000 acres

Gov. Kate Brown vowed Thursday to keep sending fire trucks and firefighters to Southern Oregon to combat the Garner Complex fire that was sparked by lightning July 15.

Declared a conflagration by Brown July 21, the fire grew by 3,654 acres Thursday, expanding to 25,097 acres by Friday morning. The fire was 25 percent contained, according to an update from fire officials.

“All of our state agencies are leaning in, and we are asking that Oregonians do the exact same thing because it is going to be a tough and difficult fire season,” she said at a press conference in the Garner Complex camp.

Hot, dry and windy conditions sparked a red flag warning Friday due to a combination of heat, wind and low-humidity that created prime conditions for increased fire activity.

The Taylor Creek fire — which is burning about 10 miles northwest of Grants Pass and five miles west of Merlin — was active Thursday night and Friday morning. The fire’s smoke column grew to an estimated height of 8,000 to 10,000 feet, visible above nearby ridge lines, a release said.

The Taylor Creek fire accounts for 16,476 acres of the Garner Complex. The Grave Creek fire was at 7,557 acres Thursday; the Pleasant Creek fire 836 acres; and the Spencer Creek fire 228 acres.

The release said area residents should expect to see heavy smoke for the next three to five days.

The fire was most active in the Shan Creek area Thursday night, according to the release. The Josephine County Sheriff’s Office evacuated at least a dozen residences Thursday on Shan Creek Road.

The Grave Creek fire on the eastern side of the Garner Complex is “doing well,” the release said. Perimeter lines are holding, and firefighters are largely doing mop-up work — making sure the fire is out and cold.

A structure protection task force supported a burnout operation on the south end of the Grave Creek fire Friday, where a limited amount of fire activity remains.

As of Friday morning, 2,530 personnel were working the fire, including 76 hand crews, 112 engines, 32 dozers, 41 water tenders, 27 aircraft and 9 structure task forces.

No structures have been damaged in the fire, although more than 1,500 remain threatened.

Natchez and Klondike fires

The Rogue River-Siskiyou and Klamath national forests have issued an emergency area closure for the Natchez fire, which is burning southeast of Selma and Cave Junction and has burned 9,991 acres, according to a Friday press release.

Currently at 10 percent containment, the fire remains within the current and planned containment lines, according to the release. Thursday night, firefighters continued working to reopen Road 60 and prepare the road as a containment line.

Management of the Klondike and Natchez fires has been combined. The Klondike fire, burning in the Kalmiopsis Wilderness, was at 8,276 acres Friday with zero containment.

Overnight burning conditions Thursday on the Natchez fire were subdued due to light winds, which allowed night shift resources to continue to scout opportunities for dozer line between Road 60 and Poker Peak along the western perimeter, the release said.

A satellite fire camp has been established in Happy Camp to reduce driving time, to increase work productivity and make it safer for firefighters. Construction crews continued work Friday to contain the fire west of the 18N30 Road, south of Little Grayback Mountain, east of Dunn Creek and north of South Fork Indian Creek and Copper Creek.

Construction of a dozer line along the southern edge of the fire continued Friday, and crews continued preparing roads to contain the fire to the west.

As of Friday afternoon, 707 personnel were battling the fire, including 18 crews, seven helicopters, 44 engines, 14 water tenders, 12 dozers and nine masticators.

Sugar Pine complex

The complex of 19 fires burning near Prospect east and west of Highway 62 has grown to 2,095 acres with little containment, according to a Friday press release.

Weather conditions Thursday allowed the Sugar Pine fire to burn actively, growing 504 acres and crossing Sugar Pine Creek toward Forest Road 6620, according to the release.

The Goodview fire had heavy smoke cover and had not grown significantly Friday. The Miles fire had increased by 674 acres by Friday and was near the western boundary of the Rogue River-Siskiyou National Forest, sparking an emergency road and area fire closure by the Rogue River-Siskiyou National Forest.

As of Friday, all portions of the forest west of Forest Roads 68 near the northern boundary and all of 6640 were closed.

Resources at the fire included 762 personnel, including 25 crews, 34 engines, 16 water tenders, six dozers and seven masticators.

Hendrix fire

Seeing little-to-no major growth in recent days, the Hendrix fire burning nine miles southwest of Ashland is at 1,081 acres and is 60 percent contained, according to a Friday press release.

The Pacific Crest Trail has been reopened on the Siskiyou Crest between mile 1695 and mile 1708. The Wrangle Campground on the north side of the Crest is still closed. The evacuation level was reduced to Level 1 “Be Ready” for the entire Jackson County Hendrix fire evacuation area.

According to the release, firefighters Friday continued to strengthen fireline on the south and west portions of the fire, but there is fireline surrounding the entire perimeter of the fire.

The Rogue River-Siskiyou National fire area closure for the southern portion of the Siskiyou Mountains Ranger District remains in effect.

Personnel battling the fire totaled to 413 Friday, which included nine crews, 10 engines, two dozers and nine water tenders.

South Umpqua complex

The South Umpqua complex fire, raging 45 miles southeast of Roseburg, has burned 9,198 acres and was 14 percent contained as of Friday afternoon, according to a press release.

Firefighters established fire lines all the way around the Snowshoe fire, according to the release, but large interior pockets of fuel Friday continued to burn. Progress on this fire has allowed the Jackson County Sheriff’s Office to reduce the evacuation areas near Snowshoe fire to Level 1.

The Miles fire Friday was the most active, moving to the east up Savage Butte and Timbered Rock, toward Hawk Mountain, and spreading northeast up a fork of Flat Creek. A burnout operation west of Timbered Rock was planned Friday.

The Umpqua National Forest has implemented emergency road and trail closures on the Tiller Ranger District because of the fire. The closure order is a combination of roads and trails which had remained closed from last year’s fire season, according to the release. Additionally, the order includes previous closures on the Diamond Lake Ranger District and North Umpqua Ranger District.

The Level 2 evacuation notice remains in effect near the Miles fire in Douglas County.

Resources included 1,285 personnel, including 40 crews, 35 engines, 25 water tenders and 12 dozers.

Timber Crater 6 fire

Burning in the northeast corner of Crater Lake National Park, the Timber Crater 6 fire has reached 3,125 acres and is 65 percent contained, according to a Friday press release.

Firefighters Friday had completed line around most of the fire, according to the release. Thursday, hot and dry conditions allowed the fire to progress across an interior pocket of unburned fuels, referred to as a “donut hole,” along the south edge of the fire, tying it into the fire’s edge.

An emergency closure order is in effect on the Chemult Ranger District of the Fremont-Winema National Forest bordering Crater Lake National Park.

Crews Friday planned to patrol, improve and mop up containment lines around the fire. There were 712 personnel working on the fire Friday.

Reach Mail Tribune reporting intern Morgan Theophil at mtheophil@rosebudmedia.com or 541-776-4485. Follow her on Twitter @morgan_theophil.

Map of the Taylor Creek Fire