SW Oregon fires remain national priority

Written by Jane Stebbins, Pilot staff writer August 05, 2013 09:29 am

 


  The Big Windy Complex fire, west of Glendale and burning in Curry County, has charred 9,192 acres as of Monday morning, with no containment and more than 1,000 firefighters attacking the wildfire that started July 26.

The Big Windy, Labrador and Douglas Complex conflagrations in southwestern Oregon all ignited during dry lightning storms. Fire officials originally said the fires might not be contained until October when typically rainy weather and cool temperatures is the norm, but are now saying they could be contained as early as Sept. 1.  

Collectively, they have been deemed the highest priority wildfires in the nation, with thousands of personnel and equipment fighting them. Current fire updates from various agencies are being posted at www.swofire.com


That complex, which started 7 mile northwest of Galice, is comprised of three fires: The Big Windy, with 6,351 acres burned in Josephine County; The Jenny fire in Curry County, at 2,678 acres; and Calvert Peak in Curry County at 163 acres.

Many of the problems, however, have been that low temperatures at night — which depress wildfire activity — also push smoke to lower elevations, keeping airborne firefighting apparatus such as planes and helicopters stuck on the ground. At times, that has made assessing the actual size of the fires difficult.   Additionally, the fires are all burning in steep terrain with heavy fuels, much left behind from the Biscuit Fire of 2002, and precluding access of any sort.

Bear Camp Road near Agness remains closed, as does the Rogue River Trail from Grave Creek to the Rogue River Ranch.

And the BLM portion of the Wild section of the Rogue River is closed from Grave to Mule creeks due to extreme fire conditions and public health and safety issues. Grave Creek is located and Mule Creek enters the Rogue River near Tucker Flats Campground and Rogue River Ranch about 10 miles upstream of Foster Bar.

For a detailed map fo the Rogue River Trail and the most popular recreation sites between Grave Creek and Foster Bar, click here.