Wildfire Update

South Obenchain Fire Update: Sept. 19, 2020

Acreage: 32,833 

Containment: 45% 

Cause: Under investigation 

The life and safety of the public and all wildland fire responders is always the number one priority for all fire agencies.  To keep firefighters and communities healthy and safe, all firefighters are asked to follow recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to reduce the spread of illness.  This also includes limited entry into the incident command post and base camp.  Please see the websites below or contact the Jackson County Emergency Management Office at (541) 776-7338 for further fire information. 

EXTREME fire danger still exists in the Rogue Valley. All fuels are at critically dry levels. An innocent spark could escalate out of control. There is no season ending precipitation event in the forecast. 

Current situation:   Most areas involved in the South Obenchain Fire are open for residents to return. This includes the City of Butte Falls and Butte Falls Highway. However, those drivers using Butte Falls Highway will need to show proof of residents at the Oregon National Guard check point. The following areas remain at Level 3 “Go”. (See attached map).  Those area include: 

·         Those areas around the immediate fire perimeter, and; 

·         Those areas north of Oregon 140 between Salt Creek Road east to BLM Road 36-2E-26.” 


Residents need to be aware that firefighting personnel and equipment will still be working on the Butte Falls Highway and adjacent areas. Please drive with caution.    

Please be aware visible flames and smoke will persist within the fire permitter until a season ending rain or snow event. Only call 911 if flames are actively spreading and life or property are threatened. Please provide a specific address or location for firefighters to respond.   

The cold front produced only a trace of sprinkles of rain over the fire. This amount of rain is not much to impact the fire weather, but the front did push smoke out of the area. With the increased visibility, air resources were up and flying over the area providing air support as needed. Firefighters will continue mopping up into the fire permitter up to 300 feet in areas where it is conducive.  Fire suppression repair work continues today within the fire area, cleaning up dozer lines, pulling water bars and other work to prevent erosion damage during rainfall and winter events.  The cooler weather is favorable, creating moderate fire conditions in all divisions of the fire helping firefighters in mop up and repair efforts.   

Friday night, the Oregon Department of Forestry provided an unmanned aircraft (drone) with infrared capabilities that flew over the southwest portion of the fire collecting data on the location of heat. A map with those locations will be provided to firefighters daily to assist them in mopping up the hotspots. 

The Billy Graham Rapid Response team has trauma trained chaplains who are trained to provide emotional and spiritual care for the community and first responders. For assistance call 423-470-2200 or email www.billygraham.org/rrt.  The team is located at the New Life Church Nazarene in Central Point, Oregon. 

Fire Information: (541) 776-7338

E-mail:  SouthObenchainFire@gmail.com

Wildfire Information Center:  https://southwestoregonwildfireinformation.blogspot.com/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/SouthObenchainFire

Inciweb:  https://inciweb.nwcg.gov/incident/7185

Air Quality: http://oregonsmoke.blogspot.com/

Evacuations: Evacuation orders are in place to protect the public and the firefighters that are working to control the fire.  Please adhere to the evacuation level issued for your area.  Please view the Jackson County Emergency Management web page for the most current map. 

South Obenchain Fire 


Jackson County Sheriff Department 


Shelter Location: The evacuation shelter is located at the Jackson County Expo Center, 1 Penninger Rd. in Central Point, Oregon where care and services are available such as food, medical care, bathrooms and showers.  

Weather:  Partly cloudy with clearing in the afternoon with expected patchy smoke. Temperatures 75-80 degrees in the valleys and 68-73 in higher elevations. Relative humidity of 30-40% with light and variable winds in the morning turning up slope at 5mph in the afternoon. West to northwest winds 6 mph with gusts to 15 mph on west to east oriented drainages. On ridges expect gusty to 15 mph in the afternoon. 

Resources-934:  1-type 1 hand crew, 1-type 2 initial attack crew, 28-type 2 crews, 3- light helicopters, 3-medium helicopters, 3- heavy helicopters, 45-engines, 19-dozers, 28-water tenders and 6-skidgens. 

Temporary Flight Restrictions: For the safety of the firefighters and aircraft fighting the South Obenchain fire, a temporary flight restriction has been placed over the fire area.  Please consult the Notice to Airman for specifics.  If you fly, we can’t.  The entire air operation must be shut down until the air space is reported clear. 

Donations:  People wishing to donate to help individuals and families that have been displaced by fires can visit the local Access website for additional information. https://www.accesshelps.org/

Closure: The Bureau of Land Management has closed public lands in and near the South Obenchain Fire to all forms of public access. In addition, the Medford District has temporarily closed all Bureau of Land Management-administered public lands in and near Cascade Siskiyou National Monument, as well as south of Grants Pass, Interstate 5, and U.S. Route 199 to the border of the Rogue River-Siskiyou National Forest.   

To View Closure Order and map:https://www.blm.gov/programs/public-safety-and-fire/fire-and-aviation/regional-info/oregon-washington/fire-restrictions or call 541-618-2340 for more information about the closure.