|Big Windy fire winding down|
|Written by Jane Stebbins, Pilot staff writer|
|September 03, 2013 11:20 pm|
The Big Windy Fire Complex that has so far this summer consumed 24,253 acres, is now 87 percent contained and fire officials have announced an anticipated containment date of Oct. 7.
Rainfall over the weekend, along with strong fire lines, helped firefighters hold the fire at bay, officials said. Most of the fire is creeping along, occasionally reaching into the tops of the trees, but then falling to the ground, reports indicate.
“They feel pretty comfortable,” said Sheriff John Bishop, who has been keeping tabs on the fire since it was ignited by lightning July 26. “They’ll keep some people on it, but the rainy season will knock the rest of the fire out.”
He said more than 26 miles of fire hose is now being rolled up and removed from the area and evacuation orders in the upper Rogue River Valley have been eased.
Bear Camp Road officially opened Tuesday, although it is possible the road could be closed again if fire activity increases.
All Bureau of Land Management roads off it, however, remain closed, and Camping is now allowed on the north side of the Rogue River from Montgomery to Quail creeks, although it is still prohibited on the south side in that area.
Grave Creek to Marial Back Country Byway remains closed, including Mt. Reuben Road and the Marial Access Road. Burnt Ridge Road is closed from the junction with Forest Road 23 to FR 33.
This week’s goals will be to keep the fire from spreading north of the Rogue River by staffing hotspots and make second containment lines if the first ones prove ineffective. Mop-up operations will continue along the northeast flank of the complex, as well.
“They feel pretty good about it,” Bishop said. “And if they feel good, I feel good. Now we can start changing our attention to other matters — day-to-day operations of the Sheriff’s Office.”
Information on the Douglas Fire Complex, 7 miles north of Glendale, had not been updated since last Friday, except to announce that road closures in the area will be extended to Sept. 10. That wildfire has burned 48,679 acres. Crews continue to conduct mop-up operations and rehabilitate burned areas.
Eighteen firefighters remain at the Labrador Fire, 25 miles south of Grants Pass. That 2,023-acre fire has been smoldering in inaccessible terrain for three weeks and has not grown.