Firefighters Stomp Out 16 Lightning Fires on the District: Recon Mission Underway

Firefighters halted the spread of 16 lightning-caused fires on ODF-protected lands over the last 16 hours. Yesterday’s storm kept the ODF Southwest Oregon District and local fire agencies engaged as roughly 1,500 down strikes hit Jackson and Josephine Counties.
All lightning-related fires on the district were kept small; the largest being the Little Battle Mountain Fire which was just confirmed to be one acre. Originally, several of the fires were estimated to be a bit larger when discovered last night. However, now that all fires are contained and crews have had the chance to obtain an accurate GPS, several fires have “shrunk” in size.
“The initial size-up is usually different then the final #fire size. That’s due to a lot of things like time of day, amount of smoke, wind and even the slope. But at the end of the day, the fire size isn’t the most important factor, but how quickly and efficiently we can get the fire out in order to keep firefighters safe and free up additional resources,” said Dave Larson, District Forester.
Today, the district’s priority is to spot new fire starts. We will have a recon aircraft up throughout the entirety of the day searching both counties for smokes. However, lightning fires are tricky in that it can take days, even weeks for a smoke to pop up.
Therefore, this is only the starting point for our recon mission.
We would like to remind everyone that the fire danger level on Oregon Department of Forestry protected lands in Jackson and Josephine counties will remain at “moderate” (blue) for the time being. This means that our shut down time for several power-driven tools is from 1:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. For a full list of the public restrictions currently in place, visit our Facebook page: @ODFSouthwest or our website: www.swofire.com.
For additional information about the Oregon Department of Forestry, please call or visit the Southwest Oregon District unit office nearest to you:
• Medford Unit, 5286 Table Rock Rd., Central Point. (541) 664-3328
• Grants Pass Unit, 5375 Monument Dr., Grants Pass. (541) 474-3152
(Photo: Little Battle Mountain Fire, June 25, 2017)