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: 394569

Reported Deaths: 5243
CountyCasesDeaths
Multnomah60720847
Washington42359405
Marion40153516
Clackamas33040387
Lane30428361
Jackson25105363
Deschutes23795189
Umatilla15144184
Linn14859183
Douglas13523293
Josephine10278247
Yamhill9840143
Klamath9112149
Polk8325102
Benton615338
Malheur593292
Coos5768109
Columbia438056
Jefferson424366
Lincoln365852
Crook343057
Union340756
Wasco318646
Clatsop263635
Baker221833
Tillamook218046
Hood River216537
Morrow197825
Curry193939
Harney121333
Grant109116
Lake105617
Wallowa76313
Sherman1933
Gilliam1854
Wheeler1141
Unassigned00

California Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 5109348

Reported Deaths: 74802
CountyCasesDeaths
Los Angeles153635127246
San Diego4091824350
Riverside3892365381
San Bernardino3762805983
Orange3352965756
Sacramento1690952452
Kern1582701828
Fresno1574692270
Santa Clara1528571928
Alameda1256281512
San Joaquin1080791835
Ventura1043091192
Contra Costa1042181056
Stanislaus919641429
Tulare867391100
San Francisco57141674
San Mateo56585631
Monterey52842626
Solano47828360
Santa Barbara47523555
Merced45309671
Sonoma43349414
Placer42458473
Imperial38932776
Kings35370367
San Luis Obispo31667360
Madera26388311
Shasta26221461
Butte25608318
Santa Cruz22402224
Yolo21722261
Marin18587249
El Dorado18448168
Sutter14646186
Napa13446106
Yuba1079891
Tehama10316131
Humboldt10294119
Nevada10112105
Mendocino864999
Lassen797656
San Benito787979
Tuolumne778491
Lake7057113
Amador580067
Siskiyou479657
Glenn458536
Calaveras445788
Del Norte377942
Colusa328321
Inyo257346
Plumas19577
Mono19034
Mariposa162218
Trinity100717
Modoc7936
Sierra2190
Unassigned1560
Alpine1080
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