Gold Hill ‘Nugget Fire’ hard to access

Gold Hill, Ore. — The Nugget fire sparked around midnight on Thursday right as a storm was passing through.


Sitting at 5 to 10 acres, the Nugget Fire isn’t close to any homes, but it is incredibly hard to access.


It’s a spectacle that many stop to see.

“It just literally took a couple of seconds to go down and snatched up the water and took right off,” Eagle Point resident Tomi Massey said.

Helicopters were grabbing water out of the Rogue River Friday afternoon to help fight the Nugget Fire in Gold Hill.

Melissa Cano with Oregon Department of Forestry says helicopters are necessary because accessibility to the fire has been very difficult for firefighters.

“They couldn’t find a way to get in. Access is always hard when you have a lightning-strike fire because usually it’s in the middle of nowhere with no road infrastructure,” Cano said.

For the Nugget Fire, Cano says the helicopters are a huge help as they can reach places firefighters may not be at yet.

Cano says the helicopters can carry hundreds to thousands gallons of water.

But communication between those in the air and on the ground is key to a successful battle.

“Basically it’s like a show. It’s a concert and it’s all in sync and they work together to put the fire out,” Cano said.

Eagle Point resident Tomi Massey was passing by when he stopped to watch the show.

“It’s great that they can come in here and grab water out of the river really close to where the fire’s at,” Massey said.

He’s thankful for the firefighters that are hiking to the remote fire risking their lives to save others.

“They train for it, they’re ready for it, they’re mentally and physically tough and that’s what has to be done so that’s what they go do,” Massey said.

Cano doesn’t anticipate the fire to grow, but she says hold-over lightning strikes could potentially start another fire in the future.

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