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Oregon on Fire: Wildfires continue to tear through the state

Congressman Walden visited the Garner Complex Fire.

Posted: Aug 1, 2018 10:46 AM
Updated: Aug 1, 2018 10:49 AM

OREGON -- The South Umpqua Complex Fire continues to grow in Douglas County, and fires are burning throughout the state of Oregon.

The South Umpqua Complex burning in Douglas and Jackson counties is now at 14,000 acres and remains only 16 percent contained. Evacuation notices are in place there.

Level three evacuations have been ordered for residents near the Sugar Pine Fire near Prospect in Jackson County. Level three means those residents should leave immediately.

The Garner Complex Fire in southern Oregon also continues to burn, and the air quality in that area is still unhealthy and hazardous, officials say.

The complex fire is 65 percent contained and holding at just less than 9,000 acres. Crews hope to have it fully contained by next week.
Crews say they are starting to get a handle on the Taylor Creek Fire, which split from the Garner Complex.

The Taylor Creek Fire is 20 percent contained as of Aug. 1. It’s burning nearly 30,000 acres, and nearly 1,000 people are under evacuation notice.

More crews from the Oregon State Fire Marshal’s Office are moving in to battle the flames.

The fire is growing, and crews worked through the night to make sure the blaze didn’t hop the Rogue River.

“When you live in the midst of it, you want to see what the fire is all about and you can actually see what they’re doing,” resident Sharon Misfeldt said.

Sharon and her husband Bob live in a level three evacuation zone near the Taylor Creek Fire. They said living so close to the fire is anything but easy, but they said watching crews work to put it out brings them some peace of mind.

With these and other fires burning throughout the state, Congressman Greg Walden is calling on his colleagues in the Senate to approve farther-reaching forest management practices.

Walden walked along the outside of the Garner Complex Fire Tuesday, seeing the destruction firsthand.

Walden spoke at the Erickson hangar base in Medford.

He’s pushing for active forest management that would remove fuel and lessen the ongoing threat of fire and smoke.

“The bill includes in the House version up to 6,000 acres where you can do expedited treatments and get ahead to the fuel loads out there,” Walden said. “So when a fire occurs, we know it will be more natural and we can fight it quicker.”

Walden said his new reforms would include cleaning up after a fire and requiring replanting of our forests.

The bill would also fund responses to insect and disease infestation, watershed protection and hazardous fuels reduction.

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