Upper Applegate Fire Lines Hold Overnight, Size Remains the Same

June 22, 2024

JACKSON COUNTY, Ore. (June 22, 2024) – Overnight, firefighters on the Upper Applegate Fire made excellent progress, keeping the fire at an estimated 500 acres, securing lines and creating new ones. The fire, located south of Ruch, is affecting private, BLM and U.S. Forest Service (USFS) land on the Rogue River-Siskiyou National Forest. Direct line at the fire’s edge has increased overnight to 15% and indirect line remains at 70%. Today, firefighters will focus on that final 15% of unlined fire edge, located on the eastern portion of the fire. This area has been a challenge the entire duration of this incident, as it’s steep and rocky. This kind of terrain can be nearly impossible to build line on, and for that reason, firefighters have been scouting the closet location to the fire’s edge to complete the perimeter.

More than 200 personnel are assigned to the fire today, including 27 overhead, seven 20-person crews, three engines, two water tenders, three bulldozers, six tree fallers and a Rapid Extraction Mobile Support Team (REMS) to provide aid and assistance should a firefighter be injured. The terrain on this fire has posed numerous safety issues, from the steep slope to hazardous trees and rocks that have been falling. While tactics remain aggressive to corral this fire fully, the safety of those working the incident is also a top priority.

The protection of homes and the community near the fire also remains a top priority. Overnight, firefighters were able to complete strategic firing operations on the southern portion, which is near to houses across the road. The work done last night nearly connected the fire’s edge to a bulldozer line that has been in place. High relative humidity overnight made this operation a safe option, and helped to reduce fuel that could have carried fire and threatened that line. That portion is now more secure.

Weather may once again impact fire behavior today, as temperatures are predicted to be in the high 80s to low 90s with a slight wind in the afternoon. Firefighters will be watching this potential and planning accordingly. Today, a Type 1, Type 3 helicopter and two Type 2 helicopters are assigned exclusively to this incident, and air tankers will be ordered as needed, much like yesterday. Last night, an illegal drone was spotted over the fire, shutting down aircraft operations for the last hour of the day. Flying drones over fires is not only illegal, but has the potential to cause an aircraft to crash, creating an extremely dangerous situation for the pilots flying and the firefighters working below. The Jackson County Sheriff’s Office searched into the evening for the drone pilot but were unable to locate them. If you have information, please call the JCSO Tip Line at (541) 774-8333.

Level 1 “BE READY” evacuation notices issued by Jackson County Emergency Management and the Jackson County Sheriff’s Office remain in place. They are for Zone JAC-436: Little Applegate Rd, west of Upper Applegate Rd, and eastern portions of Sterling Creek Rd., Jacksonville, and Zone JAC-434: Eastside Rd south of Little Applegate Rd to north of McKee Bridge, Jacksonville. More information about zones and locations is available here: https://protect.genasys.com/

Progress on the Highway 62 continued overnight; the fire remains 75 acres, 100% lined and is now 40% mopped up. Firefighters were able to check the fire for hot spots 50 feet into its perimeter, ensuring there isn’t any heat or smoldering material that could later reignite. Today, two 20-person crews, three engines and one water tender will be working that incident, with a goal of pushing that mop up to 100 feet in. Due to the tremendous progress on this fire, this will be the final update unless conditions significantly change.

The fire danger level on the ODF Southwest Oregon District is moderate (blue) and regulations are in place. Please be aware of and follow all current restrictions to help reduce the risk of fires in our communities. Fire season information is also available online at our Facebook page: @ODFSouthwest and our website: www.swofire.com.


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