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Firefighters pounce on 2-acre blaze north of Rogue River

The Oregon Department of Forestry snuffed out a wildfire about 16 miles northwest of the town of Rogue River that had grown to about two acres by early Monday morning.

ODF public information officer Kyle Novy-Riley reported the blaze, called the Graves Creek fire, was fully lined, and the mop-up process was 85% complete. The initial response included 63 personnel, eight engines, two dozers, two water tenders, three helicopters and three airplanes.

“The access was a little bit difficult just because it was a little bit deeper into the forest,” Novy-Riley said, adding the agency had not responded to any additional smoke reports on the 1.8 million acres of land it covers in Jackson and Josephine counties.

The cause of the fire remains under investigation.

Sunday lightning sparked a few fires on the Fremont-Winema National Forest. There were 107 cloud-to-ground lightning strikes across a five-county area, National Weather Service meteorologist Brett Lutz said, including Jackson, Josephine, Siskiyou, Klamath and Lake counties.

The majority of the lightning strikes, 61, touched down in Klamath County, Lutz said. Jackson County saw 10 strikes, and two of them hit about eight miles east-northeast of Medford, Lutz said. Other flashes were recorded in the Howard Prairie area.

The U.S. Forest Service conducted aerial reconnaissance flights on the Rogue River-Siskiyou National Forest Sunday and Monday but did not find any new fires, according to a press release. Forestry officials dispatched some local resources to the Fremont-Winema National Forest, including a Skycrane helicopter, to aid in fighting fires in the Fremont-Winema National Forest.

The Crane fire, burning in Lake County southeast of Lakeview, is also on Fremont-Winema National Forest land, though Rogue River-Siskiyou National Forest officials said local resources had been dispatched to help fight other smaller fires in the Sky Lakes Wilderness.

As of Monday, the Crane fire had grown to 1,900 acres, according to U.S. Forest Service public affairs officer Tamara Schmidt. There was no containment on the blaze.

“The communities of Lakeview and New Pine Creek are not currently threatened by the fire, but trigger points for evacuation orders are being discussed,” a news release said.

Firefighters also continued work on the Red Salmon fire complex in far Northern California. Two fires there were sparked by a July 27 lightning storm. As of Monday, the fire was 12,856 acres and 35% contained, according to the InciWeb, a federal website that provides information on wildfires across the country.

Mail Tribune file photo