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Fire crews attack wildfire near Rogue River

Oregon Department of Forestry crews battled a slow-burning fire near the towns of Rogue River and Gold Hill Monday.

The Fry Peak fire, which was burning roughly 14 miles north of Rogue River, was reported at 7:30 p.m. Sunday, said ODF public information officer Natalie Weber.

Crews had the fire fully lined by Monday afternoon. The fire is believed to be human-caused, officials said. The area within the firelines was estimated to be about 10 acres, while the actual fire was just under 5 acres, ODF reported.

“With the conditions that we have right now, the recent rain, it’s not burning very quickly,” Weber said.

The sluggish blaze is burning in a clear-cut area that was being salvaged following the 8,886-acre Garner fire, which sparked July 15, 2018, following a lightning storm. On Monday, Fry Peak fire activity was “minimal,” officials said.

Two crews and two engines responded to the area, described as steep terrain covered in woody debris. No road or trail closures were in effect Monday afternoon, and no evacuations had been ordered.

“It’s burning in a really remote area,” Weber said. “It has taken crews a little while to get to it just because it’s so out of the way.”

The fire broke out nearly three weeks after ODF’s Southwest Division declared fire season over on the 1.8 million acres of lands it protects. This year’s 122-day fire season lasted from June 1 to Sept. 30 and ended at 12:01 a.m. Oct. 1.

Fire crews responded to similar post-season fire in early November 2018 when the 13-acre I5MP4 fire broke out just off Interstate 5 near milepost 4, a stone’s throw from the Oregon-California border. Cold weather made for challenging firefighting, as an overnight chill froze an ODF water supply and hoses.

“It just goes to show that fire really knows no season,” Weber said. “The reason we have fire season is because there’s a heightened risk of fires starting and spreading, but fires can start at any time. That’s why we always have resources available.”

Reach web editor Ryan Pfeil at 541-776-4468 or rpfeil@rosebudmedia.com. Follow him on Twitter @RyanPfeil.

Mop-up operations were underway Monday on the 10-acre Fry Peak fire, burning on private land about 14 miles north of Rogue River. ODF photo