NEAR ASHLAND, Ore. — The Oregon Gulch Fire is the largest and most rapid burning fire in our region. Overnight Saturday the fire nearly doubled in size, jumping from 11,000 acres to 21,088 acres.
Fire officials are deeming it one of the “nastiest” fires in recent years. They said it’s growing so fast, fire crews cannot keep up. They cannot get in front of it to contain it, nor can they build fire lines on the sides of it because of potential safety hazards. Fire crews on scene said the wind is posing the biggest challenge. The wind behavior has been erratic for the past 24 hours, switching speeds and directions in a moments notice.
On Saturday, some fire crews were working on extinguishing the fire while others kept it from spreading.
“So what we are doing is clearing the area… that way we can go ahead and operate a burn out, get this hole burnt out… and the reason we are doing this is to make sure it isn’t flaring up into the trees so we don’t get spot fires on the green side,” said Krystal Orozco.
On Saturday, even more fire crews arrived on the scene and said they were told to be prepared to stay for 14 days. Currently, there are 788 personnel on the fire.
Fire officials said while the fire is important to put out, fire crew safety remains the number one priority.