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Taylor Creek fire makes run to west; containment improves on others

Here's the latest on fires burning in southwestern Oregon.

Taylor Creek fire

Continuing to rage near Grants Pass, The Taylor Creek fire has burned through 31,596 acres and is 30 percent contained as of today, according to ODF.

Firefighters Wednesday successfully burned out areas along the Rogue River to prevent the fire spreading toward homes in the Hog Creek and Picket Creek areas on the northeast corner of the fire. An unmanned infrared aircraft was used overnight to monitor for spot fires across the containment lines.

Today crews plan to secure and mop up areas around structures and burn pockets of unburned vegetation to strengthen control lines. They also plan to protect structures and timber resources on the west side of the fire, after the fire made a run to the west Wednesday.

Crews also plan to finish preparing Bearcamp Road and Chrome Ridge Road as the primary containment lines to halt the westward advancement, and to continue to seek opportunities closer to the fire’s edge to keep it as small as possible, an ODF release said.

Previously set evacuations regarding the fire remain in place today.

Garner Complex

Increased containment, little-to-no growth and successful control operations on the Garner Complex fire has led to lowered evacuation warnings for residents, according to a news release this morning from the Oregon Department of Forestry.

Burning through a total of 8,886 acres, the Garner Complex fire — now separate from the Taylor Creek fire — is 70 percent contained as of this morning, up from 68 percent Wednesday.

As of 8 a.m. today, the Jackson County Sheriff’s Office lowered evacuation warnings from level 2 “get set” warnings to level 1 “be ready” warnings. Previously ordered level 1 warnings remain in place.

Crews are conducting mop-up operations on the fire, according to the release. Wednesday night, firefighters worked to increase the depth of control lines on the southeast portions of the Grave Creek and the Pleasant Creek fires.

Crews today plan to continue seeking and extinguishing hot spots near control lines on the northwest side of the fire.

A meeting addressing the Garner Complex is scheduled for 6 p.m. today at Evans Valley Education and Community Center, 8205 E. Evans Creek Road, Rogue River.

Klondike fire

The Klondike fire, burning in the Kalmiopsis Wilderness, has grown to 21,352 acres and remains at 5 percent containment.

Continued growth of up to one-half of a mile was anticipated Thursday in the fire’s active areas. Wednesday, crews continued to monitor the fire near the Chetco Bar and Biscuit fire scars and assessed any needed suppression actions, but heavy smoke limited air operations for the majority of the day.

Crews Thursday planned to continue structure protection north of the fire in Briggs Valley, while improving the indirect control line from Forest Road 25 south along the dozer line to Illinois River Road. South of the fire, crews planned to improve the indirect containment line by removing heavy fuels.

If conditions allowed, crews planned to conduct low-intensity burn operations to remove vegetation between the primary containment line and the fire to create a wide buffer of burned fuels to stop the fire’s eastward progression, according to the release.

A level 3 “go” evacuation remains in effect for Oak Flat community along Illinois River Road in Josephine County. Illinois River Road from milepost 2.5 to up Oak Flat remains at a level 2 “get ready.”

Sugar Pine fire

The Sugar Pine fire, made up of 19 individual fires, is burning through a total of 7,166 acres, according to a Thursday morning news release.

The two biggest fires are the Sugar Pine fire at 5,082 acres, and the Goodview fire at 1,1795 acres. Both are zero percent contained.

Wednesday evening, the Miles fire, which is managed by the neighboring South Umpqua complex, pushed southeast along the Flat Creek drainage towards Elk Creek Road, uniting an older spot-fire with the main fire body, the release said. Firefighters were able to hold the fire line behind residences above Elk Creek Road.

Firefighters Thursday planned to widen fire lines to prevent fires spreading and construct dozer lines near Burnt Peak. The expected cooler temperature Thursday was hoped to reduce fire activity and provide opportunities for crews working on the fires.

Level 3 “go” evacuation orders from the Jackson County Sheriff’s Office are still in place for the upper portions of Elk Creek Road, Sugar Pine Road, and Dodes Creek Road. The Rogue River-Siskiyou National Forest has closed all of the forest west of Forest Road 68 near the northern boundary and all of Forest Road 6640.

South Umpqua complex

Burning 45 miles southeast of Roseburg and continuing to spark evacuations, the South Umpqua complex fire has reached 18,670 acres and is 18 percent contained.

The Miles fire, the top priority of the three fires in the complex, has placed 96 structures in level 3 “go” evacuation mode. Power lines near the Miles fire are threatened and have been deactivated, according to the release.

Crews on the west edge of the Columbus fire Wednesday continued to mop up and patrol the fire, while burnout preparation and line improvement continued on the southwest side. The Snowshoe fire continues to smolder and is expected to burn the remaining fuels inside its perimeter, according to the release.

Level 3 evacuations were still in place for residents of the Elk Creek area Thursday. The Tison Road area remained in level 2 “get set” evacuation mode, and all areas near Trail were in level 1.

Natchez

Burning 15 miles southeast of Cave Junction, the Natchez fire had reached 7,693 acres and remained at 15 percent containment.

Mop-up operations continued on areas of the fire Wednesday, and crews were able to start low-intensity burning operations from Kelly Lake southeast toward Indian Creek, staying ahead of the fire activities in the Siskiyou Wilderness.

The community of Sunstar in Northern California has been placed in a level 1 “get ready” evacuation status. The Siskiyou County Sheriff’s Office has issued an evacuation order for two residences near the end of South Fork Road, an evacuation warning for all residences accessed by the South Fork Road and all residences accessed by the Grayback Road, north of the junction of South Fork Road and Grayback Road.

Hendrix fire

Seeing no growth since Wednesday, the Hendrix fire remained at 1,082 acres and was 70 percent contained Thursday, according to a Thursday update from the Joint Information Center. The fire is burning nine miles southwest of Ashland.

Timber Crater 6

Burning in the northeast corner of Crater Lake National Park, the Timber Crater 6 fire also had seen no growth in 24 hours, according to a Thursday update from the Joint Information Center. The fire Thursday remained at 3,126 acres and was 85 percent contained.

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

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