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Crews complete burnout around Patton Meadow fire

Courtesy photo | Smoke in the Rogue Valley over the past week originated from Douglas County fires, according to the Oregon Department of Forestry Southwest Oregon district.

Crews tied together containment efforts on the west and north sides of the 8,816-acre Patton Meadow fire Saturday night using burnout tactics on the south side of Cottonwood Road — a “pivotal milestone” for firefighters. The lightning-caused fire burning 10 miles west of Lakeview fire has reached 45% containment.

With burnout operations completed, smoke is expected to “dissipate rapidly” from the fire area, according to the incident management team.

“It’s a big deal that we got this thing tied in,” said operations section chief Eric Perkins. “We essentially completed a prescribed burn the third week of August — a burn you would typically do in October after 2 or 3 inches of rain. Hats off to the burn module and everyone who supported it.”

With burned fuels lining the perimeter, crews continued mop up deeper into the fire interior while monitoring for spot fires Sunday.

Emergency managers deployed total suppression strategies on the Rough Patch complex (22,212 acres, 3% contained) and Jack fire (23,768 acres, 51% contained) to protect structures in the fire area and prevent westward fire progression.

Containment lines held on the north and west sides of the Jack fire, while active fire engaged firefighters on the south and southwest flanks Saturday. Crews constructed fire line and conducted burnout operations in the west and northwest areas of the complex, and reinforced contingency lines on the east and south flanks.

The Chaos, Little Bend, Buckhead and Near Minky fires within the complex burned with no containment as of Sunday morning.

Northwest winds with 18 mph gusts were expected to increase fire activity over slopes and ridges Sunday.

In the Devil’s Knob complex, containment lines held on the western flank, and containment levels improved on the Mule Creek and Hamlin fires. Fire breached primary control lines on the eastern portion of the Smith fire Saturday afternoon, causing Level 2 evacuation orders for Ash Creek residents.

Cooler temperatures prompted a decrease in fire danger from “extreme” to “high” on all Douglas Forest Protective Association lands effective Monday. The industrial fire precaution level remains at 3.

Under a “high” fire danger rating, the public can trim dried or cured grass, weld or use power saws for nonindustrial purposes before 10 a.m. and after 8 p.m.

Smoke in the Rogue Valley over the past week originated from Douglas County fires, according to the Oregon Department of Forestry Southwest Oregon district.