UPDATE, 9/20/20-- The Oregon Department of Forestry reported today the Grizzly Creek Fire is now 80 percent contained. The acreage of the fire was updated to reflect a more accurate burn area and is now 325 acres.
The fire was first reported on the afternoon of September 4 and an aggressive initial attack kept the fire from spreading further. The Grizzly Creek Fire is completely lined and crews are continuing to mop up the area.
The Grizzly Creek Fire burns near Howard Prairie Lake (photo courtesy of Kelly Soltis Pranitis)
UPDATE, 9/7/20-- The Grizzly Creek Fire has held at 340 acres for the third day in a row. According to the Oregon Department of Forestry, 240 firefighters have helped increase containment of the fire to 20 percent. The cause of the fire is still under investigation.
UPDATE, 9/6/20, 4:38 p.m.-- Level Three "Go" evacuations for 10 residential structures on Dead Indian Memorial Road and Keno Access Road have been downgraded to Level Two "Be Set" evacuations.
The Oregon Department of Forestry says the Grizzly Creek Fire is now 10 percent contained, which is a three percent increase since Saturday's update. The fire is holding at 340 acres.
The Oregon Department of Forestry says the goal is to have the fire 15 percent contained by Sunday night.
This is a developing story. NewsWatch 12 will continue to update this article as more updates come in.
UPDATE, 9/5/20-- According to the Oregon Department of Forestry Southwest, fire crews created a dozer line around the Grizzly Creek Fire. They say that in addition to the dozer line, it has also been reinforced with hose lines to help with containment.
More than 150 people worked on the fire today, and were able to hold the damage of the fire to 340 acres. Fire crews were also able to get some containment on that fire with containment level staying at around seven percent.
ODF-SWO says that smoke conditions will continue to increase until 8 p.m. tonight.
The Oregon Department of Environmental Quality has also issued an Air Quality Advisory, which will stay in effect until tomorrow morning. People who are unusually sensitive to air pollution are being asked to limit their activities outside.
The cause of this fire is still being investigated.
ASHLAND, Ore. — Fire crews from the Oregon Department of Forestry are on the scene of a growing wildfire roughly to the east of Ashland, in the area of Howard Prairie Lake. As of 5:30 p.m., the fire's size was estimated at roughly 400 acres.
An ODF spokesman said that the fire was located near Grizzly Creek and Dead Indian Memorial Road — just east of Keno Access Road, and roughly to the northeast of Howard Prairie Lake.
ODF had four helicopters and an air tanker conducting air attack on the fire, with ground crews getting into position. The high heat and dry conditions of the afternoon were "not ideal" for quickly containing its spread, ODF said.
Shortly before 5 p.m., Jackson County Roads sent out a notice that it would close Dead Indian Memorial Road near milepost 17, where it meets Hyatt Prairie Road, to all eastbound traffic. Westbound traffic was stopped where Dead Indian Memorial Road meets Forest Service Road 37.
"Travelers will need to use alternate routes. The road will remain closed until further notice," the County said.
Jackson County said that ODF has also ordered a Level 2 ("Be Set") evacuation warning for all campgrounds around Howard Prairie Lake. Campers in the parks are being notified.
"All reservations at the campgrounds have been canceled and campers that have not yet arrived are being contacted and notified to not travel to the parks," Jackson County concluded. "The public is urged to avoid the area."
ODF said that its smoke detection center spotted a plume rising from a mile north of Howard Prairie Lake just before 2:30 p.m. on Friday.
"Aggressive initial attack with air and ground support is ongoing. A night crew has been assembled," the agency said on Friday evening.
This is a developing story and will be updated with more details as they emerge.