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Seven new wildfires discovered Tuesday

Crews from the Oregon Department of Forestry Southwest District and Rogue River-Siskiyou National Forest discovered seven new lightning-caused fires Tuesday, bringing the number of fires sparked in southwest Oregon since Thursday to 79. [ODF photo]
79 fires have been discovered in southwest Oregon since July 29

Fire crews working overnight and through the day discovered seven new fires sparked by lightning Tuesday, bringing the tally of Southern Oregon wildfires sparked by five days of lighting strikes to nearly 80.

On Tuesday morning, a multi-mission aircraft equipped with night vision and infrared technology discovered the Jack Creek fire burning in the Rogue River Siskiyou National Forest and two other fires burning in the northwestern portion of Jackson County on Oregon Department of Forestry lands: the Horse Mountain fire and the Skyline fire.

The Horse Mountain and Skyline fires were each estimated at a quarter acre, according to ODF. A size estimate was not available for the Jack Creek fire.

By Tuesday evening, crews had discovered four additional fires burning in the National Forest: the Curiosity fire, the Woodruff fire, the Red fire and the Deadhorse fire in the High Cascades Ranger District.

The Deadhorse fire, about 15 miles north of Lost Creek Lake, was estimated at three tenths of an acre as of Tuesday evening.

There have been 20 lightning fires found in the Rogue River-Siskiyou National Forest since July 29, and 59 fires were found on ODF lands, according to the agencies.

Of the 59 fires on ODF lands, all but 11 have been extinguished. The largest of those 11 are the Buck Rock fire about five miles north of Trail, the Round Top fire burning 10 miles northwest of Shady Cove, and the North Fork Anderson Creek fire burning near Talent on Anderson Butte.

The Buck Rock fire was estimated at seven acres, 60% lined and 5% contained. The Roundtop fire was estimated at about 17 acres and was 75% lined, and the North Fork Anderson Creek fire was fully lined and 30% contained.

All three of the fires are burning on steep slopes at high elevations that make it a challenge to dig fire lines, according to ODF.

None of the fires are threatening homes. The largest of the active fires in the Rogue River-Siskiyou National Forest is the Bear Camp fire, which started Sunday in the Siskiyou Mountain Ranger District, according to the Forest Service. It is estimated at five acres and fully lined. A Type 2 initial attack crew, three engines and a water tender are working the fire.

The Maple Dell fire, sparked Thursday in the Siskiyou Mountain Ranger District, is fully contained at 10 acres, according to the Forest Service. Firefighters worked Tuesday to mop up hot spots and fortify the control line around the fire.

Oregon Department of Environmental Quality air monitors showed Medford and Ashland with “moderate” air quality Tuesday.

The federal government’s fire and smoke map at fire.airnow.gov showed one monitoring station outside Ashland as having an AQI at 161 — considered “unhealthy.”

The Forest Service and the online fire and smoke map stated that some of the smoke billowing into our region stems from fires burning in Northern California, including the McFarland fire burning more than 15,000 acres near WIldwood, California, and the Monument fire burning more than 6,000 acres near Big Bar, California.