Crews battle Willamette forest fires, other blazes.
Byline: The Register-Guard
Firefighters responded to at least a dozen lightning fires Thursday on the Middle Fork Ranger District in the Willamette National Forest, officials said. Three of the fires were several acres each, and the others were all smaller as of Thursday evening.
Afternoon heat picked up Thursday and the result was smoke columns coming off the largest fires, Middle Fork Fire Management Officer Randy Green said. Water drops from helicopters were used to contain the fires, and more resources have been requested, he said.
The largest of the fires is located in or near the Staley Creek watershed approximately 25 miles southeast of Oakridge. There were no public use restrictions as of Thursday night.
Lightning continued through Thursday evening along the Cascade crest, with one new fire reported in the McKenzie River Ranger District and another in the Detroit Ranger District. Firefighters were responding to those locations as well.
Meanwhile, authorities in Jackson County have told residents in a community near Ashland to leave their homes immediately as a wildfire spread rapidly in Southwest Oregon and across the border into California.
The evacuation warning came Thursday night as state forestry officials said the Oregon Gulch fire was burning about 5,300 acres in the Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument. The fire was reported at about 100 acres earlier in the day.
Elsewhere, lightning sparked two new wildfires in the southwest and central parts of the state.
The Beaver Complex is burning about 20 miles northwest of Medford and the Haystack Complex is about nine miles northwest of Kimberly in Central Oregon.