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.

Cases: 174501

Reported Deaths: 2460
CountyCasesDeaths
Multnomah34800568
Washington23412229
Marion20116299
Clackamas15311204
Lane11554144
Jackson9904127
Umatilla796883
Deschutes708272
Linn414263
Yamhill408775
Klamath345259
Polk342952
Malheur342758
Josephine305462
Douglas304365
Benton273218
Jefferson206432
Coos196831
Columbia153826
Union141124
Lincoln129820
Wasco128928
Hood River112429
Morrow107915
Clatsop8918
Crook87819
Baker85614
Curry5939
Tillamook5803
Lake4137
Grant4064
Harney3056
Wallowa1575
Sherman570
Gilliam561
Wheeler251
Unassigned00

California Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 3716579

Reported Deaths: 60994
CountyCasesDeaths
Los Angeles122864123628
Riverside2972154525
San Bernardino2945774550
San Diego2748113674
Orange2688694891
Santa Clara1169712013
Kern1078251322
Sacramento1010581646
Fresno1005001643
Alameda852561477
Ventura802301000
San Joaquin714311334
Contra Costa66927782
Stanislaus603831028
Tulare49383830
Monterey43267357
San Mateo41107560
San Francisco35993517
Santa Barbara33863446
Solano31875239
Merced31196452
Sonoma29679311
Imperial27962719
Kings22766245
Placer21751283
San Luis Obispo20917256
Madera16250239
Santa Cruz15554204
Marin13860226
Yolo13559199
Shasta11677217
Butte11549196
El Dorado9719109
Napa965479
Sutter9268109
Yuba609844
San Benito598263
Lassen566924
Tehama543056
Nevada444775
Tuolumne406664
Mendocino398747
Amador362151
Humboldt358737
Lake340643
Glenn235525
Colusa219816
Calaveras205551
Siskiyou194021
Inyo141738
Del Norte12747
Mono12734
Plumas6906
Modoc4884
Mariposa4247
Trinity3985
Sierra1100
Alpine880
Unassigned330
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