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Latest count: More than 2,350 residential structures destroyed by Almeda fire

The count of homes lost to the Almeda fire has skyrocketed to at least 2,357 residential structures destroyed and 57 damaged after an urban search-and-rescue team provided more detailed on-the-ground information about the destruction.

The search-and-rescue effort and count of lost homes is continuing.

The Jackson County Sheriff’s Office released the new numbers Tuesday afternoon after getting a summary of the team’s efforts so far.

Previously, a rough estimate put the losses at 600 homes and 100 business destroyed by the fire that started Sept. 8 in Ashland and raged through Talent and Phoenix.

An urban search-and-rescue team with members from Utah and Nevada is conducting assessments, hazard mitigation and detailed searches, the sheriff’s office said.

The operation has evaluated 2,797 structures so far.

The team has performed 1,300 searches with K-9s to look for any missing people.

Information isn’t yet available about how apartment buildings fit into the count of at least 2,357 residential structures destroyed by the fire. It’s not clear yet whether an apartment building would count as one residential structure lost, or if the individual units would contribute to the total.

The Almeda fire is 100% contained, but hazards remain in the burn zones. See jacksoncounty.org/evacuation for current information on evacuation levels affecting Phoenix and Talent.

The urban search-and-rescue team began searching Monday in Phoenix and Talent neighborhoods west of Highway 99. The team searched the north Ashland area Tuesday.

The team will set up a command post near South Stage Road and begin working the Almeda fire burn area from the north to the south until the work is complete. The search of the fire area was approximately 50% complete as of Tuesday afternoon, the sheriff’s office said.

The Phoenix-Talent School District has estimated 50% of its students’ families have lost their homes.

Reach Mail Tribune reporter Vickie Aldous at 541-776-4486 or valdous@rosebudmedia.com. Follow her on Twitter @VickieAldous.

The Almeda fire leveled Bear Lake Estates in Phoenix. Dave Killen/The Oregonian
Thousands of homes were destroyed by the Almeda fire. Jamie Lusch/Mail Tribune