Fire Officials: End of Garner Complex Firefight 'In Sight'

The once-threatening Grave Creek, Pleasant Creek, Spencer Creek and King Mountain fires are now 85 percent contained with active firefighting operations suspended on 'well over half' of the fires.

Posted: Aug 7, 2018 10:19 AM
Updated: Aug 7, 2018 10:30 AM

GRANTS PASS, Ore. — Fire officials are close to declaring victory on the Garner Complex fires that just weeks ago threatened homes north of Wimer in Jackson County. The Grave Creek, Pleasant Creek, Spencer Creek and King Mountain fires of the complex remain stable at 8,886 acres burned and 85 percent containment.

"The finish line for the Garner Complex is in sight," said a statement from the Incident Management Team (IMT) on Tuesday.

By Tuesday morning, fire managers had placed two additional sections of the fire into patrol status, reporting that well over half of the fire area has "no active operations," just daily monitoring and patrol.

Fire managers expect that they will place the remaining portions of the fire on patrol status by the end of Tuesday's shift.

The IMT says that their goal has been to get the fire to a point where it can be safely "and confidently" handed back over to local Oregon Department of Forestry (ODF) command.

“History will judge us by what we leave behind,” said Rick Dolan, Incident Commander for the Florida Red Team. “There’s a lot of fire season ahead of us. We want to make sure ODF can use their resources to suppress the next fire, not come back to this one.”

Crews continue to report finding isolated hot spots within 100' of the fire line toward the southern and western portions of the fire, but they do not believe that these sots pose a threat to control lines. They will be working throughout Tuesday to extinguish the remaining spots, plus pulling hoses, pumps, and returning equipment to the incident command post.

Fireighters will also be standing ready to deal with any other fires that might spring up in the area.

Fire officials estimate that the Garner Complex firefight has cost over $42 million since it began on July 15. They report 17 injuries, although the severity of those injuries is still unknown at this time.

All prior evacuation orders in the area (issued for the Pleasant Creek and Grave Creek Road regions) have been lowered to a Level 1 "Be Ready" notice. However, if Jackson County follows the same plan as neighboring Josephine County, that low-level evacuation threat will remain in effect for the remainder of the 2018 Fire Season.

Although previously considered a part of the Garner Complex, the Taylor Creek Fire west of Merlin and Grants Pass was broken out of the complex last week. Fire officials now report growing containment of the fire, but last week the Taylor Creek Fire stuck out as highly problematic compared to the rapid progress made on the other fires in the Garner Complex.

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