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Gyda Fire reaches 57 percent containment

A fire along Highway 238 in the Applegate Valley caused authorities to shut down the roadway.

Posted: Aug 27, 2019 4:23 PM
Updated: Aug 29, 2019 7:45 AM

RUCH, Ore. —

UPDATED: The Gyda fire is 57 percent contained as crews pushed forward during mo up operations, according to the Oregon Department of Forestry (ODF). Fire lines are holding the fire at 54 acres.

Fire Crews managed to reach their overnight goal of pushing into 150 feet into the fire.

The goal for fire crews today is to push another 100 feet past the perimeter.

Today's resources include 13 crews, 14 engines, six water tenders, one bulldozer, and multiple tree fallers.


UPDATED: The Gyda Fire is 40 percent contained as a result of the joint efforts from the first two shifts, according to the Oregon Department of Forestry (ODF). The agency also said accurate GPS mapping puts the fire at 54 acres.

Dayshift crews were able to mop-up up to 50 feet into the fire's interior. Crews Wednesday night are trying to mop-up to 150 feet in.

ODF said air resources were available during the day Wednesday but were not needed. Tree fallers took down about 75 hazardous trees. ODF said this will help firefighters safely get to hot spots in the area.

(Updated 8/28/19 at 8:10 p.m.)


UPDATE: Fire crews are beginning mop-up operations on the Gyda Fire in Applegate Valley on Wednesday, according to the Oregon Department of Forestry (ODF). The fire is now completely lined at 55 acres, burning on a mix of private and Bureau of Land Management land.

GPS mapping of the fire area may soon deliver a more accurate evaluation of the wildfire's size.

When firefighters first responded on Tuesday afternoon just before 4 p.m., they found an outbuilding fully involved in flames. That building and another were destroyed.

"Structural resources were able to defend 12 homes in the immediate area, resulting in no damage or evacuations," ODF said. Those local firefighters stayed on the scene until midnight, ensuring that the homes were safe while state crews began moving into the fire's perimeter.

Although the fire appears well in hand and mop-up operations will continue throughout the day, most fire resources could soon be needed elsewhere.

"Aircraft will be available to this fire as needed on Wednesday, however, air resources may be utilized for detection, as there is a potential for lightning in the forecast. District resources are available to tackle initial attack on lightning-caused fires," ODF said.

(Updated 8/28/19 at 10 a.m.)


UPDATE: The Gyda Fire is now about 55 acres, according to the Oregon Department of Forestry (ODF).

Multiple airtankers and helicopers took the sunlight to their advantage, dropping retardant and water.

"I haven't seen this many helicopters dropping on a spot like right over my head before," said Ben Krebs. He lives very close to the Gyda Fire.

Dave Schwep also lives very close to where the fire is burning. He thought the Applegate Valley would get lucky this fire season.

"We've been very blessed not to have so many fires compared to last summer and the summer before," Schwep added. "We felt like maybe we might not have any! But then this is happening very close. It's the closest fire that I can remember. It's sobering and a bit scary."

The fire is completely lined with retardant but hand crews and dozers are working to strengthen that line, making it 95 percent lined. ODF said firefighters will be focused on completing the fire line overnight and strengthening the perimeter.

Right now, eight engines, six crews, five water tenders, and three bulldozers have been assigned to the fire overnight.

Upon further inspection, ODF confirms the two out buildings originally reported as damaged are now determined to be destroyed.

Crews from the Bureau of Land Management, Applegate Valley Fire District, Jacksonville Fire Department, Jackson County Fire District 3, Rural/Metro Fire, Grants Pass Fire-Rescue, Illinois Valley Fire Department, Rogue River Fire Department, and the U.S. Forest Service responded to the fire. The Jackson Sheriff's Office, the Oregon State Police and the Oregon Department of Transportation have also provided resources.

The cause of the fire is still under investigation.

(Updated 8/27/19 at 8:30pm)


UPDATE: Airtankers have completely surrounded the Gyda Fire with a line of retardant, according to ODF. Now fire crews and bulldozers are working to reinforce those lines.

"Additional resources are arriving at the fire and will be on scene overnight," ODF said.

The agency revealed that two outbuildings had been damaged in the fire, but no people living near the fire area had been evacuated.

Meanwhile, ODOT said that Highway 238 had been reopened to traffic, but drivers should "watch for flaggers."

"Expect short delays as fire equipment and personnel are moved or repositioned," the agency said.

(Updated 8/27/19 at 6:20 p.m.)


UPDATE: Fire officials estimate that the fire along Highway 238, now dubbed the Gyda Fire, covers roughly 30 acres.

ODF said that the fire is burning in grass, brush and timber. All resources from the agency were "on scene and engaged" including multiple air tankers.

A post from Rural Metro Fire a few minutes later indicated that the fire might be at least slightly larger.

"Smoke that may be visible to the SE of Grants Pass is coming from a fire along Hwy 238 near Quail Run, just west of Ruch," the agency said. "It is estimated at 40 acres by ODF, and Applegate Fire District is on scene. Please avoid travel through that portion of Hwy 238 due the traffic congestion."

The cause of the fire remains under investigation.

(Updated 8/27/19 at 5:15 p.m.)


INITIAL REPORT: Fire crews are attacking a grass fire burning near Highway 238 in the Applegate Valley, according to the Oregon Department of Forestry (ODF).

Shortly after 4:30 p.m., the Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT) said that it had closed Hwy 238 at Gyda Lane due to the ongoing fire. Traffic crews were on the way to help divert drivers, and ODOT said to avoid the area.

ODF said that the fire is currently estimated at 10 acres and located in roughly the 11000-block of Hwy 238.

"Multiple resources, including engines, a bulldozer, water tender, our helitack crew, a type 2 helicopter, and air attack platform are en route," ODF said. "Applegate Valley Fire District is currently on scene."

A plume of smoke from the fire could be seen rising high into the air from Jacksonville, Phoenix, and even areas of Medford.

"More information will be released as it becomes available. Please avoid the area if possible for your safety, as well as the safety of our firefighters."

This is a developing story, and NewsWatch 12 will update the article with more details as they emerge.

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