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Firefighters monitor for holdover fires caused by lightning storm

Courtesy photo | Containment on the Skyline Ridge Complex rose to 9% on Sunday.

The Cedar Snow fire that started during a lightning storm Aug. 1 was spotted Saturday during a Skyline Ridge Air Attack reconnaissance flight near the Douglas County and Jackson County border, according to the Douglas Forest Protective Association.

The fire burned half an acre near Cedar Springs Mountain, seven miles east of Azalea. Crews contained the fire and began mop up operations Saturday night.

Containment on the Skyline Ridge Complex rose to 9% as of Sunday morning, according to the Oregon Department of Forestry Incident Management Team. Firefighters focused on limiting the spread of the Poole Creek fire Sunday— the largest fire in the complex burning at 1,942 acres six miles southeast of Days Creek.

Crews planned to secure ridgetop control lines with controlled burning Sunday evening to protect structures on the south bank of the South Umpqua River.

“We’re protecting multiple values at risk including homes, communities, commercial timberlands, powerlines, recreation and cultural sites, and treasured fishing and hunting grounds,” said incident commander Joe Hessel. “It drives our work to secure the last three active fires in the Complex as fast and as safely as we can.”

The Bootleg fire burned 647 square miles northeast of Klamath Falls and remained at 96% containment as of Sunday, despite hot, dry and windy conditions over the past week.

A total of 1,125 personnel remain active on the fire, which has engaged firefighters for nearly one month.

In the days ahead, crews will patrol the fire perimeter and focus on repairing impacts to the landscape sustained during firefighting operations. Smoke is expected to persist within the fire perimeter until a heavy rain or snow event.

The 75-acre Walrus fire and 88-acre Yainax fire burned 10 miles north and northeast of Bonanza on Sunday with no containment. Ground resources and helicopters minimized fire growth and crews have secured hose around the blazes. Calmer weather conditions Sunday were expected to aid suppression and mop up efforts on both fires.

Lightning on July 29 and Aug. 1 started a group of 52 fires, mostly in the Tiller Ranger District of the Umpqua National Forest, known as the Devil’s Knob Complex. The complex burned 2,041 acres as of Sunday between the Rough Patch Complex and Jack fire to the north and Skyline Ridge Complex to the southwest.

Crews prioritized large fires near residences and private properties and contained smaller fires in the complex Sunday.

Air resources are being shared on multiple fire complexes in the region and an Oregon Army National Guard hoist medevac helicopter is on standby.

Within the complex, containment line and hose have been laid around eight fires in preparation for mop up operations. Containment lines were nearly completed around the Mule Creek, Little Applegate and Section 30 fires Sunday morning.

Firefighters worked to establish anchor points in the Rough Patch Complex and Jack fire area Sunday, west and south of the Chaos, Little Bend and Homestead fires.

The Rough Patch Complex burned 2,193 acres with 3% containment and the Jack fire burned 23,289 acres with 54% containment as of Sunday.

Anchor points allow crews to work directly on the fire edge using water or soil to extinguish embers and flames, according to Northwest Incident Management Team 13.

Crews will continue to monitor for holdover fires from last week’s lightning storm, according to an evening update Sunday from the Rogue River-Siskiyou National Forest. Thus far, 19 lightning-caused fires have been suppressed on the forest.

Weather is expected to remain hot and dry, with temperatures over 100 degrees projected to last through the week starting Tuesday.

Human-caused fires account for 35% of the 46 fires reported in the Rogue River-Siskiyou National Forest this year and 53% of total acres burned.