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More Southern Oregon fires sparked by lightning

Smoke from the Marble Mountain fire burning about 10 miles southwest of Grants Pass. ODF Southwest Oregon District photo.

Firefighting crews are working to squelch another 11 wildfires in Southern Oregon sparked Friday by a second day of lightning strikes.

The Rogue River-Siskiyou National Forest located five new fires burning in the Wild Rivers Ranger District, and the Oregon Department of Forestry Southwest Oregon District located six more fires Saturday following thunderstorms in Jackson and Josephine counties.

Four fires were sparked Thursday on Rogue River-Siskiyou National Forest lands, and about eight fires on ODF protected lands in the Applegate — most of which have been kept small, according to agency reports.

Nine fires sparked by lightning in the Applegate are now known as the Applegate Complex. The largest of those fires is the Squires Peak fire southwest of Ruch near Woodrat Mountain, which ODF estimated to be 3-1/2 acres. It was fully lined and 70% contained Saturday, according to a news release.

Other fires in the complex never grew beyond a tenth of an acre, and were reported to be extinguished.

Another five fires outside Grants Pass and in the Selma area are now known as the Apple Foots Complex. All of the fires in the complex have been been extinguished except for the Marble Mountain fire about 10 miles southwest of Grants pass, which was a tenth of an acre, fully lined and almost completely contained Saturday.

Because the fires are in rough terrain at high elevation, ODF aircraft have been conducting flyover missions until the Squires Peak and Marble Mountain fires are fully contained.

According to the Forest Service, there were more than 100 cloud-to-ground lightning strikes between the Siskiyou Mountains and Wild Rivers ranger districts that sparked two new fires: the Swan fire measured at one acre and was burning near the scar of the Slater fire, and the Chinquapin fire measured at roughly a tenth of an acre.

Rappellers and a Type 1 helicopter were working the Swan fire, which as of Saturday evening was kept to an acre boxed in with retardant, and the Chinquapin fire was fully suppressed Saturday owing to the efforts of two engine crews and a falling module.

The largest of the fires sparked Thursday was the Maple Dell fire, which fire officials estimate at 10 acres. The Forest Service reported that the fire is fully lined, and has a hose line around the fire.

Other fires sparked Thursday in the Rogue River-Siskiyou National Forest were the Mule fire and Donomore Peak fire, each estimated at a quarter acre, and the Wrangle fire and Chapel Springs fire, each estimated at a tenth of an acre.