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Crews gain ground on Applegate Valley fire

Firefighters continue to gain ground on a fire burning in the Applegate Valley.

Containment on the Gyda Fire grew to 57 percent as of this morning, according to the Oregon Department of Forestry.

Crews pushed forward on their mop-up operations, achieving their overnight goal of reaching 150 feet into the fire located near the 11000 block of Highway 238 between Ruch and Applegate, ODF said.

Firefighters aim to extend another 100 feet inside the fire perimeter today, OSF said.

Fire lines are holding steady, keeping the fire that broke out at about 3:50 p.m. Tuesday at 54 acres, according to ODF.

Two outbuildings were destroyed but firefighters protected 12 homes in the immediate area after multiple departments and agencies rushed ground and air crews to the scene.

With 103 degree temperatures in the Applegate Valley on Tuesday and bone-dry conditions, five retardant drops from air tankers were a crucial step in containing the blaze, with the fire completely lined by retardant by about 6 p.m., officials said.

Resources assigned to the fire today include 13 crews, 14 engines, six water tenders, one bulldozer, and multiple tree fallers, adding up to more than 270 personnel. Tree falling operations will continue, bringing down hazardous snags in the northeast corner of the fire, while firefighters will continue extinguishing hotspots, ODF said.

The cause of the fire remains under investigation, ODF said.

The agency thanked its partners on the fire, including the Bureau of Land Management, Applegate Valley Fire District, Jacksonville Fire Department, Jackson County Fire District 3, Rural/Metro Fire, Grants Pass Fire-Rescue, Illinois Valley Fire Department, Rogue River Fire Department, the Oregon Department of Transportation, the U.S. Forest Service, the Jackson County Sheriff’s Office and Oregon State Police.

Firefighters are continuing to extinguish hotspots and extend containment lines on the Gyda Fire. Jamie Lusch / Mail Tribune