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From Saturday, July 27 at 7 p.m.:
MEDFORD, Ore. — Winds created a number of challenges for firefighters working active fires across Southern Oregon on Saturday. The BLM says acreage numbers are difficult to estimate at this time and there should be new numbers Sunday morning.
The Bureau of Land Management reports the Whiskey Complex Fire on the Tiller Ranger District of the Umpqua National Forest also saw growth Saturday afternoon with the Whiskey Fire estimated at 1,200-1,500 acres and the complex total about 1,800 acres. BLM says a Type II incident management team is in place and will assume command of the fire Sunday morning.
Officials with Rogue River-Siskiyou National Forest says the Labrador Fire is currently estimated to be approximately 300 acres in size. Officials challenges to the firefighters include post-Biscuit Fire conditions, which include scores of standing dead snags and 20 foot-high brush fields. The snags have a tendency to fall over, roll down hill and then re-ignite, making conditions very treacherous for the firefighters on the ground.
The Josephine County Sheriff’s Office is prepared to lead evacuation efforts should they become necessary. Private property owners are encouraged to cooperate with sheriff deputies throughout this fire season due to the potential for extreme fire behavior. The Josephine County Search and Rescue Unit are currently staffing the road block at Lake Selmac. Road and trail closures along the Illinois River Road are expected to be implemented soon.
The Douglas County Sheriff’s Office says evacuations have begun west of McCullough Creek, in the Glendale area. 45 homes are in the required evacuation area, 30 homes are on alert. As of 5:50 p.m. on Saturday, Douglas County Sheriff’s Office is evacuating all homes west of McCullough Creek Road to Reuben. Residents east of McCullough Creek Road to the mill west of Glendale are being asked to prepare for potential evacuation, meaning residents are warned that should conditions worsen, they also will be asked to evacuate.
The Big Windy Fire, in the Big Windy Creek area south of the Rogue River continues to grow in areas difficult for firefighters to access. The rugged, steep country combined with gusty winds allowed the fire to become well established today. This fire could pose a threat to the Bear Camp Road system tonight or tomorrow. Anyone travelling on the road is advised to use caution, watch out for fire vehicles, and heed warnings. The fire is expected to actively burn throughout the night.
The Douglas Complex fires were active this afternoon and the Dad’s Creek Fire is threatening some structures west of Glendale. The Rabbit Mountain Fire threw a spot fire on the south side of Cow Creek that is currently causing containment problems. The Douglas Complex fire grew to 10,000 acres Saturday.