JeffX | April 10, 2015 | 8:00
10:10 am
Fri April 10, 2015

Getting Even Fire Wiser In Ashland

The Oak Knoll fire is still a fresh memory.
Credit Oregon.gov

Ashland, built on forested hills, has always been especially vulnerable to wildfire.

11 homes were lost in the Oak Knoll fire of five years ago, and firefighters are determined to minimize the risk of a future such fire.

So several sections of town have been designated "Firewise" communities.

More than in any other city in the country, we're told.

Read more
JeffX | April 1, 2015 | 8:00
10:10 am
Wed April 1, 2015

Resiliency (And Repetition) In The Ashland Watershed

Marking trees for removal as part of AFR.
Credit Lomakatsi Restoration Project

If you can't beat 'em, join 'em.  The City of Ashland does not want a hot fire to burn across the mountain side that provides its water, and it's impossible to prevent all fires. 

So the city and partners are thinning and burning the watershed in the Ashland Forest Resiliency Stewardship Project to reduce fire fuels. 

The project is now five years old, and a recent federal grant will allow it to continue and expand. 

Read more
JeffX | March 24, 2015 | 8:00
10:10 am
Tue March 31, 2015

Commenting On Klamath NF's Fire Recovery Plans UPDATED with Open House Plans

The Happy Camp Complex, last summer.
Credit KQED San Francisco

The fires are cold, but the scars remain.

Several fires burned large swaths of the Klamath National Forest during the summer and fall of 2014.

Now the Forest Service proposes rehabilitation projects in those areas: The Westside Fire Recovery Project.

The Draft Environmental Impact Statement is out and comments are open until the middle of April.

Read more
JeffX | March 30, 2015 | 8:30
10:10 am
Mon March 30, 2015

Conservationist Concern Over Klamath Fire Follow

The Happy Camp Fire from space; infrared imaging makes the smoke disappear.
Credit Worldview-3

Count on a lot of comments on the Westside Fire Recovery Project in the Klamath National Forest.

The project would involve salvage logging and other activities in three major areas burned by fires in the summer of 2014.

We talked to the forest bosses in a previous segment; now we hear the concerns of KS Wild and other conservation groups.

Read more
JeffX | March 20, 2015 | 8:30
10:10 am
Fri March 20, 2015

Thinning To Reduce Fire Danger And Produce Fuel

The Rim Fire alone burned more than a quarter of a million acres in 2013.
Credit Inciweb.org

The concept of "fire season" has become more fluid over the years, particularly in California. 

Unusually warm weather with little precipitation means parts of the state are prone to wildfire year-round. 

Assembly member Brian Dahle, who represents much of the North end of the state, wants to reduce fire danger and provide fuel for biomass power generation. 

That involves reducing the fuel loads in the forests of the Sierra Nevada, which involves cutting at least some trees. 

Read more
JeffX | March 3, 2015 | 8:00
10:10 am
Tue March 3, 2015

Teaching Wildland Fire Prevention Young

Creating defensible space involves removing potential fuels between fire and structure.
Credit FEMA/Public Domain

Wildland firefighting agencies frequently stress the importance of protecting rural homes from fire by clearing out "defensible space." 

So why not get the message across to a younger audience? 

Ruch School in the Applegate Valley plans to join with community partners to make the school grounds more fire resistant, with students taking part in the process. 

Read more
Jefferson Exchange | January 13, 2015 | 8:30
10:10 am
Tue January 13, 2015

Money For Oregon Residential Fuel Reduction

Fuel reduction projects give fires no place to burn.
Credit NW Fire Blog

Forestry workers on both sides of the state line give constant reminders about the value of clearing away potential fire fuels on rural property. 

The whole concept of "defensible space" means putting that space between a rural home and the possibility of destruction. 

So the Oregon Department of Forestry offers some financial incentives to reduce fuels. 

Read more
Jefferson Exchange | Monday, December 29 | 8:30
10:10 am
Mon December 29, 2014

Smokejumping Into History

A smokejumper crew ready for action in New Mexico, 1948.
Credit Forest Service/Public Domain

The idea of jumping out of a plane to fight a forest fire sounds hazardous (it is), but it has a long history. 

Long enough to be commemorated in a museum. 

The Siskiyou Smokejumper Base in Cave Junction operated for decades, closing in 1980. 

Now it's a museum, restored to its 1950 appearance, with additional protections from the federal government. 

Read more
Jefferson Exchange | November 19, 2014 | 9:00
10:10 am
Wed November 19, 2014

Coexistence With Wildfire

California's Rim Fire in 2013.
Credit Inciweb.org

The recent report on coexistence with wildfire may bring you up short. 

For one thing, it points out the big differences between our approaches to wildfire and other disasters. 

We gird against earthquakes and coastal storms, for example, but don't try to stop them. 

The attitude toward fire is different, and generally does not involve urging people to build homes farther from fire zones. 

Read more
Jefferson Exchange | September 26, 2014 | 8:30
10:10 am
Fri September 26, 2014

Restoring Weed After The Boles Fire

Credit Courtesy of Cal Fire

The best thing that can be said about the Boles fire sweeping through Weed on September 15 is that nobody died or suffered a serious injury. 

But losing 148 homes is not an event from which a community recovers overnight. 

There's a long road ahead before the lost homes are rebuilt, and the community will bear a permanent scar.

Read more
Jefferson Exchange | September 25, 2014 | 8:00
10:10 am
Thu September 25, 2014

Rethinking A Wildfire Hazard Zone

Ashland's Oak Knoll Fire destroyed 11 homes in 2010.
Credit Oregon.gov

The recent fire that destroyed nearly 150 homes in Weed confirmed what we already knew: what we think of as "wild" fire can also spread within cities. 

Even before the Boles Fire swept through Weed, the city of Ashland began plans to expand its designated Wildfire Hazard Zone

Ashland Fire & Rescue proposes putting the entire city in the zone.

Read more
Air Reaches "Unhealthy" Level
7:41 pm
Sat September 6, 2014

Smoky Weekend: Happy Camp Fire Plume Goes North

A satellite image clearly shows the smoke spreading from the Happy Camp Complex.
Credit National Weather Service

(UPDATED Monday, Sept. 8, 9:00 a.m.)

A southerly wind pushed smoke from the Happy Camp Complex of fires over the state line during the weekend, raising air pollution levels into the unhealthy zone in the Rogue Valley.

A Sunday evening update pegged the fire size at nearly 97,000 acres, the largest fire currently burning in California.

Meanwhile, air quality in Medford and Grants Pass reached the "unhealthy for sensitive groups" range. A later reading put Medford's air solidly into "unhealthy" for all breathers.

Large plumes of smoke could be seen from Medford, both from the Happy Camp Complex, and from the 790 fire burning in the Cascades north of Prospect.

A shift to a westerly wind blew much of the smoke directly into Medford by mid-afternoon on Saturday. A similar weather pattern repeated on Sunday afternoon

Read more
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

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. 

Read more
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 

Read more
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

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. 

Read more
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.

Read more
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.

Read more
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.

Read more
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).

Read more