The Jackson County Sheriff's Office says people who live along Highway 66 near Ashland should be ready to evacuate because of a wildfire.
A fire started by lightning Thursday near the Oregon-California border has burned at least 3 homes, 5 outbuildings, and dozens of vehicles. The Oregon Gulch Fire is now more than 20,000 acres. The fire has prompted evacuations in Jackson, County Oregon and Siskiyou County, California.
Don Hickman, a fire spokesman with the Oregon Department of Forestry, said he walked through one of the areas that had just burned. "It looked like an absolute moonscape. We probably saw 50 acres of just nothing but black sticks. The vegetation was burned down to mineral soil," Hickman said.
Hickman said the fire is moving east toward the Klamath basin and south toward the Klamath River and Copco Lake. Firefighters are concerned that wind could carry embers across the water, allowing the fire to jump the river and spread further into California.
The Oregon Gulch Fire is only 5 percent contained.
The ODF released information Saturday on fires throughout the state:
Large fires currently burning within ODF's protection jurisdiction include:
Central Oregon District - John Day Unit: The South Fork Complex is burning around the South Fork of the John Day River. It consists of two fires, Murderers Creek and Buck Fork. The Murderers Creek Fire is burning on Bureau of Land Management, Malheur National Forest, Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife, and private forestlands. In addition to the ODF responsibility for the private forestlands affected by this fire, ODF is also the jurisdictional agency on the ODFW lands, however, they are actually protected by the BLM under a formal agreement. Today, Oregon Interagency Incident Management Team 4 (Incident Commander Brian Watts) assumes management of this complex. Approximate fire acreages for Murderers Creek (which merged with what was initially a third fire, Placer Gulch), is 9,000 acres; Buck Fork is estimated at 80 acres and 80 percent contained.
Southwest Oregon District - The Beaver Complex consists of two fires: the Salt Creek Fire, 20 miles northwest of Medford, and the Oregon Gulch Fire, 15 miles east of Ashland in the proximity of the Soda Mountain Wilderness. Yesterday, erratic, gusty winds on the Oregon Gulch Fire, approximately 21,088 acres and 5 percent contained, caused extreme fire behavior and rapid fire spread. The fire has consumed a total 3 homes, 5 outbuildings, and multiple vehicles. There are 270 structures threatened in Oregon and California. The Salt Creek Fire had little fire activity yesterday, increasing from 108 acres to 146 acres, and is 30 percent contained, as fire personnel were able to complete line construction around the fire perimeter. Due to the complexity of the Oregon Gulch Fire, a unified command structure with Oregon Department of Forestry, the Oregon State Fire Marshal's Office, and CAL FIRE has been established. The unified command will host a community meeting tonight at 7 p.m. at the Green Springs Fire Station. Information on this complex: http://inciweb.nwcg.gov/incident/4034/.
Central Oregon District - John Day Unit - Oregon Department of Forestry Incident Management Team 1 (Incident Commander John Buckman) assumed command of the Haystack Complex on July 31, 2014 The Incident Command Post is located at Spray and the fires, on private lands, are full suppression fires. Current status: Today's goal is to establish and reinforce a control line around the School House Fire, detected yesterday and included within the complex. Mop up continues on the Haystack, Steet, and Hog Ridge fires. Meeting mop up standards is anticipated within 24 hours. The remaining objectives of the Complex are completing the suppression work on existing fires and being ready to support the local District with initial attack of new fires. A recognition of the current fire situation was shared by Incident Commander, John Buckman at the morning briefing, and he also emphasized safety. The Haystack Fire is located three miles northeast of Spray and is currently mapped at 1,155 acres. The Throop Fire, located about three miles northeast of Dayville, is mapped at 490 acres. The Steet Fire located, seven miles northeast of Monument, is mapped at 50 acres. The Hog Ridge Fire, located nine miles northwest of Dayville, is mapped at 55 acres. The School House Fire, located six miles east of Monument, is mapped at 73 acres. Information on this complex: http://inciweb.nwcg.gov/incident/4020/.
As management of these fires continues to result in Incident Management Teams transitioning them back over to local units, they will be removed from this list; information may still be found on the Inciweb site (URL above).
Sniption Fire: 25,000 acres; 60 percent contained. More information: http://inciweb.nwcg.gov/incident/4026/ .
Pumice Complex: More information: http://inciweb.nwcg.gov/incident/4014/.
Hurricane Creek Fire: [No new report received today.] 1,018 acres, 20 percent contained.
The Wallowa-Whitman National Forest is monitoring the fire, burning in the Eagle Cap Wilderness, and evaluating the potential for increased activity, ready to respond if the fire moves north and threatens ODF-protected forestlands. The forest has successfully secured in the northwest corner of the fire, strengthening the line nearest ODF-protected private lands. More information: http://inciweb.nwcg.gov/incident/3966/ .
Logging Unit Fires:10,447 acres, 70 percent contained. More information: http://inciweb.nwcg.gov/incident/3973/ .
This story originally appeared on Oregon Public Broadcasting.