Wildfire Update

South Obenchain Fire Update: Sept. 20, 2020

Acreage: 32,671

Containment: 55%

Cause: Under investigation

Current situation: Areas inside the immediate burn area remain at a Level 3 evacuation with restricted entry. Areas outside of the immediate burn area previously at a Level 3, are reduced to a Level 2. See the Jackson County Emergency Management and Sheriff’s office website. The town of Butte Falls is open for residents to return, however drivers using Butte Falls Highway will need to show proof of residence at the Oregon National Guard check point. Please drive with caution as personnel and equipment will still be working on the Butte Falls Highway and adjacent areas. Residents may return to their homes in the areas east of Salt Creek Road and north of Hwy 140, including the Salt Creek and Wasson Canyon drainage areas.

Visible flames and smoke will persist within the fire perimeter 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.

Moderate fire behavior today will allow resources to continue mop up inside the perimeter up to 300 feet in some locations. Fire suppression repair work continues. Crews on contained portions of the fire are removing hose lays, cleaning up dozer lines, repairing fencing and completing other suppression repair. With increased containment and consistent work on the fire, resources assigned to the fire will decrease. Resources will return home for a much needed rest or be reassigned to other incidents. As resources are released, an important step in that process is to have fire vehicles’ undercarriage washed to reduce the possible spread of noxious weeds.

Evacuations: Areas inside the immediate burn area remain at Level 3 with restricted entry, and areas outside the immediate burn area have been reduced to Level 2. Please view the following web pages for the most current evacuation maps:

Jackson County Emergency Management-

https://jacksoncountyor.org/emergency/News/News-Information/jackson-county-evacuations-north-county- update-obenchain-fire-1

Jackson County Sheriff’s Office https://jacksoncountyor.org/sheriff

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. One less spark, one less wildfire. There is no season-ending precipitation event in the forecast.

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: Temperatures today continue to be warmer and drier during the day, with no precipitation over the fire. Temperatures 80-84 degrees with a relative humidity of 20-25%. Light winds today, E to NE to 7 mph.

Resources-924: 1-type 1 hand crew, 1-type 2 initial attack crew, 27-type 2 crews, 2- light helicopters, 3- medium helicopters, 3- heavy helicopters, 44-engines, 18-dozers, 26-water tenders and 5-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 Medford District has temporarily closed many areas of public lands to support fire suppression efforts and to prevent new starts. Maps of the closure areas are available on the Bureau of Land Management’s website: http://www.blm.gov/programs/public-safety-and-fire/fire-and- aviation/regional-info/oregon-washington/fire-restrictions