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GRANTS PASS, Ore. —
UPDATE: The wildfire near I-5 is now completely lined, according to Melissa Cano with ODF. Fire crews will be conducting mop-up and patrol operations through the night to ensure that hot spots don't cause the fire to spread any further.
Cano estimated that the fire won't be considered completely contained until sometime on Saturday.
There has not yet been any updated information from ODOT regarding the lane closure and delays.
(Updated 8/31/18 at 5:50 p.m.)
UPDATE: The northbound on-ramp at Rogue River is closed due to backup from the wildfire near milepost 54, according to ODOT.
Temporary traffic holds may still occur as air tankers drop retardant on the fire, and the northbound slow lane remains closed. Crews are also working along Foothill Blvd. ODOT advises that local traffic consider alternate routes — expect delays.
(Updated 8/31/18 at 4:30 p.m.)
UPDATE: Firefighters are making good progress on the wildfire near milepost 54, according to ODF. While nearly 100 firefighters work to set up control lines on the fire's flanks, helicopters and air tankers have been hitting the fire right at the "head."
The northbound slow lane remains closed between mileposts 53 and 55.
Three helicopters have been conducting bucket drops while four air tankers drop retardant ahead of the fire, ODF said in an update. Now that smoke is beginning to dissipate, fire crews estimate that the flames cover only 10-15 acres — not more than 50 acres as ODF previously estimated.
No evacuations have been ordered, but "surrounding homes should be aware of the fire activity in their area," ODF said.
The cause of the fire is still under investigation at this time.
(Updated 8/31/18 at 4 p.m.)
UPDATE: ODOT says to expect congestion and delays beginning at Rogue River (Exit 48) due to the wildfire near milepost 54. Crews may temporarily hold traffic for retardant bomber drops.
The northbound slow lane is closed due to fire activity and staging. Crews are also working from Foothill Blvd as well.
(Updated 8/31/18 at 3:40 p.m.)
INITIAL REPORT: Fire crews have closed down the northbound slow lane of I-5 just southeast of Grants Pass due to several grass fires in the area.
The Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT) says that there are two "separate fire locations" between mileposts 51 and 54. ODOT says to expect delays and traffic backups. Be aware of inattentive drivers around the fire area.
One fire could be more than 50 acres in size, and multiple agencies are responding — including helicopters and air tankers, according to the Oregon Department of Forestry (ODF).
"Structures are currently threatened," ODF said in a Facebook post.
NewsWatch 12 will update this article with more information as it comes in.