Evacuation Advisory Lifted In The Applegate
10:16 am
Fri August 22, 2014

Southern Oregon Wildfire Update

Old Blue Mountain Fire
Justin Corns Oregon Dept of Forestry via www.rogueweather.com

UPDATED | Friday 9/22 10:16 a.m.

An evacuation advisory in the Applegate has been lifted by fire officials, who say significant progress has been made fighting the Old Blue Mountain Fire burning three miles from Applegate between the towns of Gold Hill & Rogue River. A roadblock on Foots Creek Road was also removed on Thursday.

The 99 acre fire is the largest of eight fires sparked by lightning Monday evening in Jackson and Josephine counties. 

Jefferson Exchange | August 18, 2014 | 8:00
1:21 pm
Mon August 18, 2014

The Value Of A Burning Forest

After the fire is out, what then?
Credit Wikimedia

Sean Stevens of Oregon Wild shares the benefits.

It's hard to think about the benefits of a forest fire when it's bearing down on your house or filling the air with smoke. 

But fire is a natural part of the life cycle of forests. 

And it is one that got pushed aside for many years, in favor of fire suppression. 

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More Storms Forecast for Tuesday
1:00 pm
Tue August 5, 2014

August 5th Update: Wildfires Rage On, Evacuations Still in Effect

Fireside Village, Hat Creek's only restaurant, burned over the weekend, along with numerous residences.
Todd Westlund

UPDATED | Tuesday 1:00 pm 

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Jefferson Exchange | August 5, 2014 | 9:00
10:10 am
Tue August 5, 2014

The Heart Of Fire Season (We Hope)

The plume from the Oregon Gulch Fire, seen from miles away in Ashland.
Credit KeithHenty.com

Angie Johnson, Lou Gugliotta, and Lance Berry talk fires and firefighting.

It's been a busy couple of weeks for firefighters in the region. 

The Oregon Gulch fire is one of those rare ones that involves both states, and it's a big one. 

It is also far from the only big one burning; crews are working fires in many places in both states. 

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Separate Fire Closes US 97
1:10 pm
Sun August 3, 2014

10,000 Acres A Day: Oregon Gulch Fire Marches On

The Oregon Gulch Fire in its early stages. Note the red trees to the left, indicating a retardant slurry drop from a plane.
Credit Lee Winslow/ODF


ODF says crews "made excellent progress on the fire" during the day Sunday.  Fire acreage at 36,500+... first day since Thursday fire did not gain 10,000 acres during the day.


The Oregon Gulch Fire continues to burn through a vast swath of land on the Oregon/California state line, generating large amounts of smoke and obscuring dozens of other fires burning in the region.  The fire zone is south of Oregon highway 66 and generally east of Jenny Creek, with land scorched in Jackson, Klamath and Siskiyou Counties.

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Evacuations Jackson-Klamath-Siskiyou Counties
4:37 pm
Fri August 1, 2014

UPDATED: Oregon Gulch Fire Continues To Spread

A fire cloud forms over the Oregon Gulch fire, southeast of Ashland, on Thursday evening.
Credit Keith Henty/KeithHenty.com

Much of the Rogue Valley is shrouded in a smoky haze, as southern Oregon’s largest wildfire so far this season grows at a rapid pace.

The lightning-caused fire -- reported Thursday morning as 10 acres -- exploded across southeastern Jackson County overnight and spread into Klamath County as well as Siskiyou County, California.

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Green Springs On Alert
4:33 pm
Thu July 31, 2014

More Lightning, More Fires, More Evacuations

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.

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Bad Fire Weather
11:29 am
Wed July 30, 2014

Firefighters Looking For Smokes

Lightning strikes near Ashland Tuesday evening. Note the very few raindrops under a partly sunny sky.
Credit Geoffrey Riley/JPR

Nature continues to provide a one-two punch to the region: hot, dry weather AND thunderstorms.

Oregon Department of Forestry reports seven new fires across the Medford district from Tuesday's storms.  None are big, but more may develop.

The National Weather Service issued a red flag warning covering the Rogue Valley, South Cascades, Siskiyous, the Klamath Basin and Siskiyou County.  It remains in effect until 11 PM Wednesday (July 30).

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75% Contained Monday Evening
5:16 pm
Mon July 28, 2014

Klamath County Fire Approaches Containment

Credit South Central Oregon Fire Management Partnership

Firefighters appear to have the upper hand on the Ferguson fire, burning on private land in Klamath County. 

By Monday afternoon, the fire was listed as 75% contained on 200 acres.

The fire was first reported on Friday, and quickly burned down three structures and threatened several more, forcing evacuation orders.

Those orders had been dialed back to less urgent advisories by early Monday.  The fire zone is 30 miles east of Klamath Falls, five miles north of Beatty.

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Thousands Of Strikes
11:13 am
Wed July 23, 2014

Lots Of Lightning, Lots Of (Small) Fires

Credit Public Domain

Thunderstorms moved through Southern Oregon and Northern California Tuesday night, with thousands of lightning strikes recorded on both sides of the state line.

The National Weather Service reports more than 1,200 downstrikes in Jackson County alone.

And so the Oregon Department of Forestry reports multiple fires caused by lightning, most of them less than two acres in size.

The Rogue River-Siskiyou National Forest also reports more than a dozen new fires, also small.  Crews scattered in search of new smokes.

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Jefferson Exchange | July 15, 2014 | 8:00
10:10 am
Tue July 15, 2014

Fire Season Intensifies

Credit Federal Emergency Management Agency

Brian Ballou and Dennis Matheson call in from the fire camps.

July and August can be tricky months to try to schedule interviews with firefighters and their bosses. 

The region's propensity for high heat AND dry lightning often converge in raging wildfires in the month of July.   

And true to form, we scheduled an interview shortly before new fires forced evacuations in Shasta and Klamath Counties.

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Holding at 2500 Acres
2:13 pm
Mon July 14, 2014

Klamath County Fire Destroys Homes, Forces Evacuations

An aerial view of the Moccasin Hill fire on Sunday.

A wildfire in Klamath County burned down half a dozen homes and continues to threaten 100 more.

The Moccasin Hill fire began burning Sunday afternoon (July 13) and has spread to 2500 acres.  The acreage figure is actually smaller than earlier reports, due to better mapping and reconnaissance.

The fire is burning on mostly private land under Oregon Department of Forestry protection, north of the community of Sprague River.

Fire agencies say the cause is under investigation.

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Community Meeting Monday Evening
4:36 pm
Mon June 23, 2014

Bryant Fire Lined; Growth Stalled

A plane drops chemical retardant near the Bryant fire in Klamath County.
Credit Chris Friend/Oregon Dept. of Forestry

A Klamath County wildfire that put up a fight over the weekend is slowly coming under control.

The Bryant Fire started Thursday six miles from the town of Bonanza, and quickly covered hundreds of acres. 

It's been burning in heavy timber owned by Jeld-Wen, the Klamath Falls door-and-window maker. 

Reports early Monday put the fire's size at 1,361 acres.  Firefighters succeeded in getting a line around the fire over the weekend, with full containment expected later in the week.

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800 Acres+ Friday Evening
4:48 pm
Fri June 20, 2014

Slow Progress On Klamath County Fire

The Bryant Fire burns in Klamath County timber Thursday afternoon.
Credit Kellie Carlsen/Oregon Dept. of Forestry

A wildfire burning in eastern Klamath County is giving firefighters challenges.

The Bryant Fire grew to more than 800 acres Friday, burning on private timberland six miles from the town of Bonanza.

The Oregon Department of Forestry assigned a Type 2 State Fire Team to take over management of the fire, effective at 6 PM Friday.

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Jefferson Exchange | June 9, 2014 | 8:00
10:10 am
Mon June 9, 2014

National Wildland Fire Strategy

2013's Jenny Fire burns down toward the Rogue River.
Credit PNW #2 IMTeam

George McKinley explains the national strategy on wildfire.

Wildland fires grab our attention and headlines easily. 

They seem to get bigger and more numerous every year. 

But away from the headlines, work has quietly been underway to develop a broad strategy for approaching fires and their causes. 

The National Cohesive Wildland Fire Management Strategy ordered by Congress five years ago was recently released. 

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Not Pretty; Not Local
2:00 pm
Sun June 8, 2014

Smoke From Bend Area Fills Rogue Valley Skies

Smoke obscures Mt. Baldy east of Phoenix Sunday afternoon.
Credit Geoffrey Riley/JPR

Fire season is only a week old, and Rogue Valley residents are already asking "where's the fire?"

The answer: near Bend.  Oregon Forestry confirms that the smoke pall hanging over the Rogue Valley blew in from the Two Bulls Fire northwest of Bend, which had covered more than 6,000 acres of land by Sunday morning (June 8).

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Four Counties Affected
4:03 pm
Fri May 30, 2014

Here We Go: Fire Season Begins In Oregon

When the hills turn brown, the arrow moves to the right. This fire danger sign greets drivers entering Ashland from the north.
Credit Geoffrey Riley/JPR

There wasn't much suspense, and now it's over: fire season begins at the start of the day (12:01 AM) on Monday, June 2, 2014 for Josephine, Jackson, Klamath and Lake Counties.

The Oregon Department of Forestry announced the declaration of fire season early Friday.

The declaration puts a set of restrictions in place on activities that could potentially cause fires to start: debris burning, use of certain kinds of ammunition, and logging, among others (restrictions list HERE).

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Jefferson Exchange | May 29, 2014 | 8:00
10:10 am
Thu May 29, 2014

On The Verge Of Fire Season

It will happen; the only question is: how much?
Credit U.S. Army Corp of Engineers

Bob Schumacher and Daniel Berlant survey what could be a rough fire season ahead.

Southern California is adjusting to the realities of a year-round fire season. 

So far, we do not have to face that reality where we live. 

But this fire season, which could be declared at any time (already underway south of the state line) , threatens to be a rough one in Oregon and California. 

It comes after several years of low rain and snowfall, and arrives during a drought. 

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Jefferson Exchange | May 6, 2014 | 8:00
10:10 am
Tue May 6, 2014

Defensible Space In Case Of Wildfire

A house with defensible space... note the fire-blackened brush in the foreground.
Credit FEMA/Public Domain

Kristin Babbs of Keep Oregon Green lays out defending homes from wildfires.

Oregon girds for the start of fire season every year about this time. 

If the gathering drought and the recent hot weather are any guide, it could be an intense fire season. 

The Keep Oregon Green Association is determined to keep any fires as small as possible. 

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Jefferson Exchange | April 23, 2014 | 8:00
10:10 am
Wed April 23, 2014

Fire Season (Eventually) Approaches: Getting Ready

Credit Federal Emergency Management Agency

Greg Kleinberg talks about homeowners getting ready for fire season.

Rain and cooler temperatures can't hide the strong possibility of a bad fire season for the region. 

Cool and moist now will eventually give way to hot and dry, perhaps VERY dry. 

Fire agencies are not waiting for the hot days; they're reminding homeowners now of the many ways to make a home fire-resistant. 

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