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Region sees dozens of small wildfires sparked by lightning storms

While none of the fires have grown very large at this time, some may be in highly remote areas — giving them the opportunity to grow.

Posted: Sep 5, 2019 10:26 AM
Updated: Sep 5, 2019 1:36 PM

MEDFORD, Ore. — Firefighting agencies across Southern Oregon and Northern California reported dozens of small fire starts on Thursday morning after severe thunderstorms brought flurries of lightning strikes through the region.

By 1 p.m.., the Oregon Department of Forestry (ODF) reported 18 confirmed fires between Jackson and Josephine counties, with six more reported fires awaiting investigation. Five small fires had already been extinguished.

There were upwards of 740 lightning strikes across the region beginning on Wednesday evening, according to the National Weather Service.

"Thankfully, with the rain we received overnight, the fires have remained small, and three fires have been extinguished by crews," the agency said.

Most of the lightning strikes were found on the east side of Jackson County, ranging from the state border to Grizzly Peak and Butte Falls. Other fire starts were confirmed in Josephine County between Applegate Valley, Deer Creek, Sexton Mountain and Wolf Creek.

"There are still a number of reported fires that crews have not yet made access to," ODF said.

All of the fires that crews had responded to were small — the largest at just a half-acre on Sexton Mountain. However, most of the fires were found in remote areas, and further unreported fires could have the opportunity to grow throughout the day.

U.S. Forest Service officials with the Rogue River-Siskiyou National Forest said that they had found two confirmed fires in the Forest, with crews heading out to both. They were also following up on five "smoke checks," or more unconfirmed reports of fire.

"Interagency Dispatchers are busily responding to calls from resources as they work to respond to such reports across the Forest," USFS said. "As smoke checks are confirmed, appropriate resources will be dispatched to respond and suppress these starts."

Cal Fire reported upwards of two dozen confirmed fires since Wednesday evening, with the largest reaching about two acres in the Butte Valley area.

"Due to Siskiyou County being under a Red Flag Warning and with an abundant amount of lightning, Cal Fire ordered three strike teams of engines and two strike teams of hand crews," the agency said.

Firefighting agencies were bracing for the potential of further thunderstorms throughout the day on Thursday — and higher risk of fire.

"The storm will be mostly wet this afternoon, but lightning can occur outside of the rain core," Cal Fire said. "A risk of new fire starts will remain high."

"Reports will be ongoing throughout the morning and afternoon, as temperatures increase and resources continue to patrol and report," USFS said.

 

Oregon Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 21488

Reported Deaths: 357
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Multnomah496096
Washington311925
Marion293870
Umatilla230228
Clackamas154940
Malheur80414
Deschutes61110
Lane5903
Jackson4732
Yamhill46713
Lincoln4189
Union3942
Morrow3723
Jefferson3714
Polk31912
Linn28410
Klamath2012
Hood River1930
Wasco1923
Benton1696
Douglas1511
Josephine1152
Columbia970
Coos910
Clatsop850
Crook491
Baker400
Tillamook340
Lake320
Wallowa191
Sherman160
Curry150
Harney100
Gilliam40
Grant40
Unassigned00
Wheeler00

California Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 574231

Reported Deaths: 10476
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Los Angeles2105434998
Riverside41983820
Orange40527726
San Bernardino36072546
San Diego32975594
Kern24440171
Fresno17846171
Alameda13631209
San Joaquin12864223
Santa Clara12694205
Sacramento12040177
Tulare10862196
Stanislaus10264169
Imperial9693244
Contra Costa9404139
Ventura863492
San Francisco762367
Santa Barbara670469
San Mateo6318120
Merced573670
Monterey544635
Marin540481
Kings445356
Solano427441
Sonoma367047
Madera246339
Placer231922
San Luis Obispo225416
Yolo183444
Santa Cruz12436
Butte12388
Napa107411
Sutter9527
San Benito7654
El Dorado7552
Lassen6830
Yuba6464
Mendocino47210
Shasta45910
Colusa3914
Glenn3603
Nevada3571
Humboldt2864
Tehama2761
Lake2402
Amador1822
Mono1581
Tuolumne1553
Calaveras1471
Inyo1063
Siskiyou1020
Del Norte1000
Mariposa622
Plumas360
Modoc50
Trinity50
Sierra40
Alpine20
Unassigned00
Medford
Clear
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Hi: 95° Lo: 55°
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Brookings
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Crater Lake
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Grants Pass
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Klamath Falls
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Cooler and quiet Wednesday
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