More Lightning, More Fires, More Evacuations

Jul 31, 2014

Lightning strikes near Ashland, July 30.
Credit Geoffrey Riley/JPR

Lightning continues to set fires around the region, keeping firefighters busy and forcing evacuation alerts.

The Jackson County Sheriff's Office issued a level one evacuation order for Copco Road east of Ashland Thursday afternoon (July 31).

The Oregon Gulch fire burning in the nearby Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument prompted the order, which means residents should be ready to evacuate if needed.

Copco Road is east of Jenny Creek in the Green Springs area.

The fire was discovered Thursday and quickly grew to 100 acres or more.  Oregon Department of Forestry reports crews pulling back from the fire because of swirling winds from additional thunderstorms.

Lightning started dozens of fires Tuesday and Wednesday night, including the Beaver Complex about 20 miles northwest of Medford.  The complex includes the 100+ acre Salt Creek Fire.

Smoke can also be seen in the Rogue Valley from a fire on Wagner Butte outside Talent.  That fire, Wagner #1, triggered an evacuation alert on Wednesday; it has since been canceled.

Firefighting agencies admit to being stretched thin by the onslaught of lightning-caused fires, and the forecast for Thursday night only calls for more of the same.