WILLIAMS, Ore. – For the second time in two days, fire agencies from across the Rogue Valley battle a wildfire that threatened homes.
A day after crews stopped a fast-moving fire in Merlin, crews were called out to battle flames in Williams. Crews said the Pacifica fire burned from Watergap Road toward Williams Highway, and threatened more than 150 homes. One home was burned, and three out-buildings were destroyed, along with two cars.
Fire crews said the flames jumped Powell Creek Road and headed toward homes along Williams Highway, but slowed down when it hit a long, flat stretch of fields. That allowed fire crews to use helicopters, air tankers, and dozens of engines and ground teams to catch up to the flames. As of Friday night, the fire had burned about 400 acres, but crews had fire lines around 75 percent of the fire, and had gained the upper hand in the firefight.
Crews used five helicopters, two air tankers, four bulldozers, 12 engines and five water tenders on the fire. Crews from virtually every fire agency in the Rogue Valley were assisting.
Many people living in the Williams area were evacuated from their homes, and road blocks were in place on Watergap road and Williams Highway to prevent anyone from going closer to the fire. By the end of the night Friday, many evacuees were being allowed back into the fire area.
The Southern Oregon Red Cross has set up an emergency shelter at the Josephine County Fairgrounds for anyone who was displaced.
One man suffered a minor medical emergency and was transported to an area hospital for treatment. One firefighters suffered from heat exhaustion and was treated on scene. He is expected to be OK.
Crews will continue to stay on scene throughout the night Friday and into Saturday morning. Governor John Kitzhaber declared a conflagration, which means outside agencies can travel to Williams to help in the firefight and mop-up. Crews from Linn and Lane counties were on their way to Southern Oregon.