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Neil Rock Fire 75 percent contained

The Oregon Department of Forestry says firefighters have completely lined the Neil Rock Fire, and will continue to mop up the area today. This morning the fire is 9.5 acres and is 75% contained.

Posted: May 7, 2019 3:59 PM
Updated: May 8, 2019 9:49 AM

SAMS VALLEY, Ore. —

UPDATE: 5/8/19 9:40 AM

The Oregon Department of Forestry says firefighters have completely lined the Neil Rock Fire, and will continue to mop up the area today. This morning the fire is 9.5 acres and is 75% contained. 

ODF says the fire is located 10 miles northwest of Eagle Point, the Neil Rock Fire was initially spotted by the Oregon Department of Forestry’s Detection Center cameras Tuesday afternoon around 3:40 pm.

One engine was sent to investigate, but due to the increase of smoke in the area, a second engine, helicopter, a bulldozer, and the Task Force from the Medco B Fire were dispatched as well. By 5:00 pm, additional resources were also called on, including a water tender and additional engines from our Grants Pass office. 

The fire is located in a very remote and rocky area, providing our crews with an additional challenge; access to the fire was initially hard to make. Windy conditions also helped to push the fire uphill. It was first reported as a five-acre fire. 

Today, there are 38 total personnel working the fire, 32 of those being firefighters. Two handcrews and two engines will continue to mop up the area. 

UPDATE:

The fire is located between Ramsey Canyon and Meadows Road, in the Neil Rock Area. The only access roads are off of 234. ODF said the cause is unknown at this time.

Two medford units, two grants pass engines, a bulldozer and helicopter are all at this fire. ODF also pulled the task force from the Medco B fire to assist. ODF is expecting another engine to join crews Tuesday night and more resources will be on the way Wednesday. There are no evacuations in place and no road closures. 

Rainey's Corner Market is nearby and workers said a lot of their customers live near the fire and they're worried for them.

Jonne King, the Rainey's Corner Market shift manager, said, "Yes this is home, this is the hub, they call this Sam Valley's hub because everybody knows everybody."

She's worked at rainey's corner market for the last four years and she said her customers are like her family.

"I'm worried for them and the animals, and of course the firefighters," King said. 

ODF officials said the fire is in a very difficult area to access because it is so steep and rocky. Tuesday's high winds had a big impact on how quickly this fire spread. The fire started before 4 p.m. and it spread to several more acres in just a few hours.
ODF officials said the fire remains an estimated 8-10 acres burning in a remote and rocky area.

"As it gets closer it gets more and more scary, but right now it's still a ways away so I'm not too concerned," King said. 

Although there have been several grass fires recently, ODF said they aren't looking to start fire season early. All the fuels that normally feed fires during the summer, are still green. Fires don't spread as quickly on green grass, so ODF said that's really helping them with the fires right now.

UPDATE:

Fire crews are headed out to a remote area in the hills above Sams Valley after spotting a smoke column believed to be from a wildfire, the Oregon Department of Forestry (ODF) indicated on Tuesday afternoon.

"It was caught by our detection center cameras just a few minutes ago," the agency said. "At this time, the cause is unknown. More information will be posted as it becomes available."

The smoke was spotted near Neil Rock, somewhere between Ramsey Canyon and Meadows. Early estimates suggest the fire, now called the Neil Rock Fire, could cover roughly five acres at this time.

"Firefighters on scene are reporting the flames are moving slowly, despite the wind," ODF said.

The agency said that it had two engines, a bulldozer and a helicopter headed up to investigate. ODF announced that it would pull its Task Force from the Medco B Fire to the Neil Rock area, as well as two engines from the Grants Pass office.

Ramsey Canyon was the site of a significant wildfire last year that threatened hundreds of structures before firefighters were able to contain it. That fire grew to cover nearly 2,000 acres.

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