Rain tamps down wildfires in Douglas and Lane counties
A couple inches of rain fell this past weekend over a pair of wildfire complexes that last month contributed heavily to the Rogue Valley’s unhealthy air quality, and tamped down fire activity, fire officials reported Monday morning.
As much as two inches of rain fell over the weekend on the Jack fire burning east of Glide and on the Rough Patch complex burning north and south of the Jack fire, according to an update released Monday morning from the Great Basin Incident Management Team 2.
The favorable weather prevented the fires in Douglas County and portions of Lane County from spreading, according to fire officials, and the rain reduced fire activity to only some smoldering.
The combination of 100% humidity and low winds over the past 48 hours gave fire managers time to plan their next step to contain the fires. More moderate weather is forecast for the remainder of the week.
As of Monday morning, the Jack fire — a human-caused fire that started July 5 — was estimated at 24,165 acres and was 55% contained. The Rough Patch complex of fires, sparked by a series of lightning strikes July 29, was at 50,264 acres and 38% contained.
The Devil’s Knob Complex, burning in Douglas County south of the Jack fire in the Tiller Ranger District of the Umpqua National Forest, saw as much as two and a half inches of rain over the weekend, according to a Monday morning Inciweb update.
Although it described the rainfall as “significant,” it hasn’t been enough to extinguish the most active fires within the Devil’s Knob complex, including the Big Hamlin fire to the south and the Smith fire. Fire officials said they expected some spot fires and continued smoldering.
A smoke outlook for the South Oregon Cascades from the Interagency Wildland Fire Air Quality Response Program said that isolated smoldering logs within the Devil’s Knob Complex “will produce very little smoke” Monday and Tuesday.
“Southwest Oregon from Interstate 5 east to Highway 97 should see mostly clear skies and good air quality,” according to the outlook from the U.S. Forest Service Wildland Fire Air Quality Response Program. “Additionally there should be very little smoke impact in Oregon from fires in Northern California.”
At 9 a.m. Monday, Medford’s air quality index was in the 20s — considered “good” — and has been at that level since 7 a.m. Friday.
All other portions of the Rogue Valley showed good air quality Monday morning and overall good air quality was forecast through Tuesday for Shady Cove, Grants Pass, Roseburg, the Crater Lake Rim and Chiloquin.