Ashland, Oregon Information in Emergency Events

Oregon Gulch fire at 11,000 acres, headed away from Ashland to south and east

Press release: Oregon Department of Forestry Team 2- Chris Cline, Incident Commander
August 1, 2014 12:00 p.m.

Special Message: The public is asked to use caution while driving near the vicinity of the Salt Creek Fire. Vehicles cutting corners while traveling the roads in the area of East Evans Road, West Evans Road, and Antioch Road have been reported.

Current Situation: The Beaver Complex now consists to two fires: Salt Creek Fire and Oregon Gulch Fire. The newest fire, Oregon Gulch, is south of Highway 66, burning in the proximity of the Soda Mountain Wilderness. The fire grew rapidly and is approximately 11,000 acres. Salt Creek Fire had moderate fire growth yesterday and is currently 108 acres. Both fires were caused by lightning from thunderstorms that moved through the area over the last few days. Due to the complexity of the Oregon Gulch Fire, a unified command management structure with Oregon Department of Forestry, CalFire, and Oregon State Fire Marshall’s office will be established.

Jackson County Sheriff’s Office issued a Level 3 evacuation order yesterday for homes near Oregon Gulch fire, near Copco Road (6000 block to Oregon border). All of the people in the affected area have been contacted.

Salt Creek Fire
The east side of the fire has been lined using a bulldozer. Also, hose used to transport water to the fireline will be installed and mop up will begin. The west side of the fire is more problematic for fire personnel due to the steep terrain, making it difficult for personnel to work along the fireline directly. Roads near the west side of the fire will be cleared to help create better access.

Oregon Gulch Fire
This fire was integrated into Beaver Complex yesterday afternoon. The fire is burning in the Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument. The fire grew rapidly, crossing into Klamath County in Oregon and crossing over the Oregon-California border early last evening. Resource advisors from Bureau of Land Management have been dispatched to the fire to assist with minimizing the effects of fire suppression activity within the Monument. Fire growth is expected to move in a southeast direction. The number of structures threatened is 170. Multiple outbuildings were destroyed. Fire personnel from California, Bureau of Land Management, and various structural fire departments are assisting with fire suppression and structural protection.

Weather: Sunny skies are expected with a chance of isolated thunderstorms by evening. The temperature is expected to reach 98 degrees with light winds from the north and west, becoming northeast and northwest.

Fire Statistics for Salt Creek
Location: 20 miles northwest of Medford, OR Percent Contained: 30% Complex Size: 108 acres Cause: Lightning
Start Date: 7/30/14

Fire Statistics for Oregon Gulch
Location: 15 miles east of Ashland, OR Percent Contained: 5% Complex Size: 11,000 acres Cause: Lightning
Start Date: 7/30/14

Resources Include: 6 T2 hand crews, 4 Camp Crews, 12 engines, 10 dozers, 8 water tenders, and overhead personnel.

Air Resources: 11 helicopters and air tankers on request.

Places to get information:

Twitter – www.twitter.com/swofire/
Southwest Oregon District Blog – http://www.swofire.com/
DEQhttp://www.deq.state.or.us/AQ/burning/wildfires/index.htm
Jackson County Sheriff’s Office – https://www.facebook.com/#!/JacksonCountySheriff

Posted by Paul Collins on Fri, 1 Aug 2014

More lightning expected, residents asked to report nearby fires

The City of Ashland today issued information about lightning-caused fires, and this request:

We urge residents to only call in smoke or fires in their immediate area and especially any close to structures, so as not to overwhelm 911 dispatchers with distant fires that are already being staffed. — Ashland Fire & Rescue

In particular, a fire on Wagner Peak is widely visible. Continued near-100 highs mean likely more small fires, and aircraft are being used to watch for new ones.

More information

Posted by Paul Collins on Thu, 31 Jul 2014

Thunderstorm over Ashland leads to reports of smoke

As a noisy thunderstorm passed over Ashland for about an hour, KDRV has reported “two lighting-started fires are being investigated.” One smoke investigation by AF&R was dispatched by ECSO 911, but there is no confirmation or additional report of actual fires.

Additionally, one lightning strike (without fire) was reported south of Ashland. Clearly there have been several strikes in our immediate area.

We suggest you keep an eye out for lightning-caused fires, and if you see one, or see smoke from such a fire, call 911.

Lightning strike near Ashland

Lightning strike near Ashland posted by Geoffrey Riley on Facebook

Posted by Paul Collins on Wed, 30 Jul 2014

2014 fire season is off to hot start—be prepared

As high temperatures continue to run around 100 degrees in Ashland, vigilance is the order of the day. Recent lightning strikes have not lead to significant fires in the region, but we have a long hot summer to go. It’s important to create defensible, fuel-free space around your home if you live in the Wildland Urban Interface. If you are wondering if you are in the WUI, wonder no more: for all intents and purposes, living anywhere in Ashland is living in the WUI. Follow the link to get prepared.

Posted by Paul Collins on Tue, 15 Jul 2014

Smoke monitor now in Ashland

A temporary air quality monitor has been set up in downtown Ashland. This provides a reading of how much smoke (small particulates) is in the air on an hourly basis. The nearest permanent monitor is in Medford.

To view the monitor readings, go to the Interagency Real Time Smoke Monitoring page and click the link for USFS1049 (currently labeled “Oregon”). The page gives two readings: The current “1 HR” reading, and the 24 hour reading, which estimates the cumulative quality over that period. Hourly readings may vary greatly over the period of a day. The 24 hour reading is shown just below the colored “Good” to “Hazardous” scale.

Pro tip: If the line chart (large area to the right of Current Observations) does not appear, that’s probably because your browser’s Java plug-in is not installed or is disabled. This is actually a good thing: Java plug-ins are not widely used (for most people) and enabling them increases the risk of malware successfully attacking your computer. You can still get the current readings without seeing the line chart.

Thanks to Oregon Smoke Information for information about the monitoring website.

Posted by Paul Collins on Wed, 7 Aug 2013