ashland.news
July 14, 2024

Firefighters warily optimistic about Dead Indian Memorial Road Fire

A Jackson County Sheriff's Office map shows the approximate location of a fire in the 4500 block of Dead Indian Memorial Road.
July 5, 2024

Road was closed Thursday night, expected to reopen Friday mid-day

By Morgan Rothborne, Ashland.news

Estimates of a 100 acre fire on Dead Indian Memorial road Thursday night turned out to be inaccurate, but “fire’s always look bigger at night,” Oregon Department of Forestry Public Information Officer Natalie Weber said Friday morning . 

It was mapped by firefighters on foot with GPS devices at 43 acres and is now fully lined, Weber said. The goal for the day will be to continue applying resources and get to mop up.

Last night engines from Ashland Fire & Rescue, ODF and Jackson County Fire District 5 all responded. More resources were ordered, including three 20 person crews, a 10 person crew, three engines and a bulldozer. A wildland task force from Josephine County was also dispatched overnight. Friday morning, six 20 person crews, two tree fallers, six engines, four water tenders and additional overhead personnel have been assigned to the fire, according to a news release. 

A photo of the fire site off Dead Indian Memorial Road (a bit of a road guardrail is visible at lower left corner) taken by the Oregon Department of Forestry Southwest Oregon District.

“If things keep going the way they’re going, we’re three, four shifts away. … The concern today is the weather,” Weber said. 

Hot dry ground conditions in the location of the fire will be subject to high temperatures with a a forecast high of 104 degrees, single digit relative humidity and possible wind this afternoon — conditions that mean a red flag warning is in effect.

Last night wind was pushing the fire downhill and helping it to grow, Weber said. The weather conditions will test the progress firefighters have made through the night and into the morning. 

“We’re cautiously optimistic,” she said. 

The fire was first reported at 10:15 p.m. on the 5400 block of Dead Indian Memorial Road but found to be closer to the 4500 block. No homes were threatened and no evacuations have been ordered, according to an ODF release. 

Dead Indian Memorial Road is closed with hopes to open up one late by late Friday morning, and possibly the entire road by the end of the day, depending on firefighter’s progress, according to the release. The cause of the fire is under investigation. 

Email Ashland.news reporter Morgan Rothborne at morganr@ashland.news.

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Bert Etling

Bert Etling is the executive editor of Ashland.news. Email him at betling@ashland.news.

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