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Crews make progress on South Obenchain, Slater fires

The South Obenchain fire, which ignited more than two weeks ago near Eagle Point, was 80% contained Wednesday, but plenty of hot spots remain in the interior of the blaze.

“When we’re doing our mopping-up process, we’re doing a grid and looking for anything that’s still holding heat,” said Oregon Department of Forestry Southwest Division spokeswoman Natalie Weber. “That could be a stump hole, it could just be different fuels in that area that have been protected, or even are out in the open and still just smoking.”

The 32,672-acre fire sparked Sept. 8, the same day as the Almeda fire.

The fire has destroyed 32 houses and 56 other structures.

The eastern flank of the fire has been problematic, but recent cooling has allowed aircraft to help ground crews strengthen lines. The cause of the fire remained under investigation.

A map of evacuation levels for Jackson County fires can be viewed at www.jacksoncounty.org/evacuation.

Firefighters on the Slater and Devil fires, burning in Northern California and parts of Josephine County, made some progress on the Slater blaze Wednesday. The 150,230-acre fire was 24% contained, while the Devil fire remained at 18% containment.

Reach Mail Tribune web editor Ryan Pfeil at 541-776-4468 or rpfeil@rosebudmedia.com.

Julian Cordle photoThe South Obenchain fire burns Wednesday night near Ball Road in Eagle Point.