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Red flag warning in effect until Friday morning

Southern Jackson County and western Siskiyou County, California, will be under a red flag warning from 3 a.m. Thursday until 11 a.m. Friday because of gusty winds and low humidity, according to the National Weather Service.

The main areas affected include the mid to upper slopes and ridges of western Siskiyou County, which includes the area affected by the Red Salmon and Slater fire complexes, said meteorologist Ryan Sandler.

Northeast winds of 10 to 15 mph with 30 mph gusts are forecast, with humidity levels as low as 18%, according to a Weather Service bulletin.

A freeze warning remains in effect for Jackson County from 2 to 9 a.m. Thursday.

“We’re thinking close to freezing here in the Rogue Valley,” Sandler said. “It’s close. It probably won’t freeze right in Medford, but some of the outlying areas will.”

Even colder weather is expected over the weekend, with morning low temperatures in Medford plunging to as low as 27 degrees. Dry conditions are expected to persist in the daytime.

“We think we’re going to have wind and a very dry air mass ... Saturday night and Sunday,” Sandler said. “We may end up having fire weather watches out.”

Fire danger level remains “moderate” on the 1.8 million acres of land in Jackson and Josephine counties protected by the Oregon Department of Forestry. Crews continue to patrol the recently contained South Obenchain fire, which started Sept. 8 near Eagle Point, but ODF is keeping a sharp eye on the whole district, ODF spokeswoman Natalie Weber said.

“We’re still in fire season. We still have really dry fuels. Any fire that starts could take off in a wind event,” Weber said. “We’re still staffed up, and we’re ready to respond to whatever incident comes up.”

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