Firefighters Work to Contain Two Wildfires That Occurred Within Minutes of Each Other

Emergency Management

JACKSON COUNTY, Ore. (June 21, 2024) – Despite numerous hazards, firefighters are making good progress on two wildfires on opposite ends of Jackson County that were reported in the space of 15 minutes on Thursday afternoon. The Highway 62 Fire, located south of Shady Cove, remains at 75 acres, is 100% lined, and 60% plumbed with fire hose for water access. It’s affecting both private and Bureau of Land Management (BLM) land. The Upper Applegate Fire, located south of Ruch, is challenging firefighters more; this morning, it’s estimated to be at least 500 acres, and is burning on extremely steep terrain affecting private, BLM and U.S. Forest Service (USFS) land on the Rogue River-Siskiyou National Forest.

This morning, resources will continue to build and strengthen the lines that were dug on both flanks of the Upper Applegate Fire. Wind and terrain pushed the flames up a steep hill, creating a long and skinny fire footprint. The majority of each side is currently lined, however the most eastern portion still remains uncontrolled. Firefighters are working to gain access and put line in that area. Today, 108 personnel are assigned to this incident, including four 20-person crews, two engines, two water tenders and two bulldozers. Three helicopters are also assigned to work exclusively on this fire, including a Type 1, 2 and 3. Additional aircraft will be ordered as needed. Approximately a dozen homes were protected from this fire yesterday and overnight; structure protection will continue to be a priority as resources work today.

On the Highway 62 Fire, resources have a goal of connecting hose across the entire fire this morning, allowing water access on every portion of the incident for mop up operations. More than 100 personnel are assigned to this fire today, including four 20-person crews, four engines and two water tenders. Aircraft will likely not be needed, but will be available.

Hot temperatures, winds and low relative humidity will help to naturally fuel fire behavior today. Firefighters are aware of this potential and are planning accordingly. Both fires have hazard trees, and a few have already fallen. Resources are also challenged with steep terrain. Safety will remain a top priority on both incidents as work continues.

On the Highway 62 Fire, Level 1 “BE READY” evacuation notices were issued for Zone JAC-164: in the area of Hwy 62 and Hammel Rd, south of Shady Cove. This has been cancelled this morning.

On the Upper Applegate Fire, Level 1 “BE READY” evacuation notices were issued by Jackson County Emergency Management and the Jackson County Sheriff’s Office for Zone JAC-436: Little Applegate Rd, west of Upper Applegate Rd, and eastern portions of Sterling Creek Rd., Jacksonville, and Zone JAC-434: Eastside Rd south of Little Applegate Rd to north of McKee Bridge, Jacksonville. Both remain in place this morning. More information about zones and locations is available here: https://protect.genasys.com/

 Numerous resources responded to both of these incidents, including ODF, BLM, USFS, Applegate Valley Fire District, Jackson County Fire District 4 (Shady Cove), and both the Rogue Valley Wildland Strike Team and Task Force, comprised of firefighters and resources from agencies across Jackson and Josephine Counties. This combined effort is a prime example of how fire agencies within the Rogue Valley collaborate and work together to protect our communities.

The fire danger level on the ODF Southwest Oregon District is moderate (blue) and regulations are in place. Please be aware of and follow all current restrictions to help reduce the risk of fires in our communities. Fire season information is also available online at Facebook page: @ODFSouthwest and website: www.swofire.com.