Klondike Fire nearing communities

JOSEPHINE COUNTY, Ore. — Kale Casey of the U.S. Forest Service says progress is being made on the Taylor Creek Fire and evacuations have been lifted in many areas, but Casey says their concern now is the Klondike Fire threatening communities near the fire.

“The only way to give security to all those homes and all those businesses East of the Klondike Fire is to get a buffer in there…,” said Casey.

As firefighters gain ground on the Taylor Creek Fire, there’s another fire making it’s way towards homes and businesses…the Klondike. It’s burning South of the Taylor Creek at over 35,000 acres and edging towards communities.

Kale Casey of the U.S. Forest Service says it’s possible the two fires may merge. On Tuesday, the team managing the Taylor Creek Fire also assumed command of the Klondike Fire.

“Just like when we took the Taylor fire out of the Garner. It gives our team a lot more focus,” Casey said. “Our team, their team, the Bureau of Land Management, Oregon Department of Forestry, and the U.S. Forest Service all agreed that the action was necessary to take to protect the values at risk…which is Wonder, Wilderville, Grants Pass, Cave Junction, Murphy, every community on the East side of this fire.”

Crews setup a fire line on Tuesday evening from the Eastern part of the Klondike Fire to the Eastern part of the Taylor Creek Fire, and Casey says it’s already working.

“The fire is backing away from all those homes, the fire is backing away from the 199, and in the direction we want it to go, which is back towards the fires…as the Sheriff says, keep it on the mountain.”

Although the Taylor Creek Fire is still burning at over 41,000 thousand acres. Casey says it’s in really good shape and residents are back in their homes, except for the Galice Creek Road area, which he says is in ‘mop up’ mode. That means firefighters are removing burning material near fire lines to make the area safe and reduce smoke.

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