The Klondike Fire burning northeast of Brookings and 12 miles southeast of Agness is now 15 percent contained, marking the first notable increase in firefighter’s efforts to extinguish the wildfire.
Yet August and September are typically the warmest, driest months, fire officials noted in a report Monday, and temperatures in the triple digits might contribute to the Klondike Fire’s growth this week.
Relatively low temperatures — in the high 90s — are forecast for Friday, but drier and hotter weather is expected again going into next week.
Such weather helped feed the Klondike Fire over the weekend by 5,000 acres to 28,476 acres, and another 2,400 acres Monday, to 30,873 acres. The fire is mostly growing to the east and north.
The plan now is to continue burnout operations along the east side of the fire, working both north and south; fight spot fires when feasible and continue building indirect fire lines, said Chris Schulte, the Pacific Northwest Incident Management Team commander now in charge of operations.
Crews are also using infrared flight data to monitor new fire growth over the Illinois River and suppress it, if possible.
The Klondike Fire is primarily burning in Josephine County, but its tendrils reached into Curry County at the end of July.
Very little smoke has been seen or smelled in South Curry County — especially when compared to the thick, acrid orange smoke from last year’s Chetco Bar Fire — and for the next week, it is expected to only affect communities near the fire’s edge: Selma, Happy Camp and Cave Junction, among them, fire reports read.
But Curry County will be affected with the closure of Bear Camp Road from Agness to the forest boundary near Galice. Bear Camp Road is commonly used by shuttle drivers picking up rafters after their Wild and Scenic Lower Rogue River trips.
Burnt Ridge Road is closed in its entirely, as well.
Both road closures will remain in effect until the risk to travelers is gone, officials said.
There are also closures along the Recreation section of the Rogue River and at BLM recreation sites and boat ramps.
Visitors can call the Southwest Oregon Joint Information Center at 541-474-5305 or BLM river permit staff at 541-479-3735 for more details on road and recreation closures.
“All federal, state and county partners recognize the economic impact of the fire and closures to the businesses and local community,” fire officials said. “Staff are coordinating with the numerous permitted outfitters and guides, and are working diligently to re-open areas as soon as possible, while keeping public and firefighter safety as the first priority.”