JACKSON & JOSEPHINE COUNTIES, Ore. (July 31, 2021) – Following two consecutive days of thunderstorms in the Rogue Valley, Oregon Department of Forestry (ODF) Southwest Oregon District (SWO) has responded to 14 fires across the district that are believed to be lightning-caused. The majority of these fires are already extinguished; only two remain active, however, both are in the latter stages of mop-up.
Thunderstorm cells from both Thursday and Friday took a very similar path up from northern California into the Applegate Valley. Almost immediately after the storms crossed into Oregon, the ODF Southwest Detection Center began discovering smoke in these areas. These fires became the Applegate Complex, consisting of 9 separate incidents. The largest of these fires is the Squires Peak Fire located near Woodrat Mountain southeast of Ruch at 3 and a half acres. At the time of this release, it is 100% lined and 70% contained. The other 8 fires were between 1/10th and 1/100th of an acre and are completely extinguished.
Further northwest, the Apple Foots Complex ranges from southwest Grants Pass to the Selma area; it consists of 5 fires. All are extinguished aside from the Marble Mountain Fire, located 10 miles southwest of Grants Pass. It’s 1/10th of an acre in size, 100% lined and nearly contained.
All of these fires, while small, are in extremely rough terrain in high elevations. Firefighters will remain on scene of the Squires Peak and Marble Mountain Fires until they are 100% contained, which is estimated to be reached by the end of Saturday. Several reconnaissance missions have been conducted by district aircraft; no new fires have been located from these flyovers, or by our Detection Center Specialists.
Additional thunderstorms are expected in our region; our firefighters, dispatchers and detection specialists will continue to be vigilant in locating, dispatching and responding to fires. ODF believes in an aggressive initial attack strategy with the goal of keeping fires as small as possible and putting them out as quickly as possible. This strategy has yielded excellent results over the past two days, and throughout this fire season on the Southwest Oregon District.
As a reminder to the communities we serve, Extreme Fire Danger is still in effect, despite the rain our area received in these storms. The 14 fires that have been found are proof that fuels are still prime to burn. Please continue to follow public use regulations in an effort to decrease the likelihood of human-caused fires; this greatly helps local fire crews to focus on the multiple incidents at hand, and additional lightning-caused holdover fires that will pop up in the coming weeks from these storms.