Former South Umpqua Complex fires could grow with hot temps

The four fires, formerly known as the South Umpqua Complex Fire, are being called by the four names they’ve been given now that they’re no longer considered a complex of fires.

Posted: Aug 6, 2018 6:06 PM
Updated: Aug 7, 2018 1:32 PM

MILO, Ore. -- Increasing temperatures throughout the week could cause the Miles, Columbus, Snow Shoe and Round Top fires to continue to spread.

The fires, formerly known as the South Umpqua Complex Fire, are being called by the four names they’ve been given now that they’re no longer considered a complex of fires.

Over the weekend, a type one incident management team took control of the two base camps in the area.

With that type one team comes more fluid communication between the 1,700 personnel fighting the nearly 38,000 acres of wildfires.

Jodie Barram with the Incident Management Team said that will allow them to continue to build on the work that has already been done to contain these fires.

“As the fire grows and moves into different topography, they take some of those earlier plans and continue to build on them,” Barram said. “They continue to put in those dozer lines, continue to assess the situation given the weather forecast for the upcoming week.”

Right as they’re taking over, Incident Management Team Meteorologist Donny Dumont said temperatures are starting to rise again which could cause issues for fire containment.

“The hotness and dryness will be the key component the next two to three days,” Dumont said. “By Friday, we’re actually looking like it’s going to break down what we call a heat ridge, but we’re going to have winds coming in by Friday. It could be cooler, but the wind’s going to drive the fire. So, really, like I said, it’s picking your poison.”

The Snow Shoe and Round Top fires are at nearly 96 percent containment, but the four fires together are only at 18 percent containment.

With the increasing temperatures, winds and changing fire patterns, Barram said the public needs to stay as informed as possible about the fires.

“Stay connected with your community and talk to your neighbors about what’s going on, and working with our sheriff’s offices in both counties for evacuations,” Barram said.

Incident management officials want to remind people that there are two public meetings happening this week.

There will be one on Wednesday at the Tiller Fire Station and one on Thursday at the Shady Cove community center.

Both of those are happening at 6:30 p.m.

The cooperating agencies on these fires are as follows:

• Rogue River National Forest
• Umpqua National Forest
• Oregon Dept. of Forestry
• BLM-Medford
• Army Corps of Engineers
• Jackson County
• Douglas County
• Cow Creek Band of the Umpqua Tribe

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