Watts Mine Fire (ODF)

ODF responds to first fires of the year in SW Oregon

Watts Mine Fire (ODF)

JACKSON & JOSEPHINE COUNTIES, Ore. – After dealing with some of this year’s first fires on Oregon Department of Forestry-protected land in southwest Oregon, ODF is warning about increased fire risk as temperatures rise across the region.

ODF said on Monday, crews responded to a small fire in the 16000 block of Water Gap Roads in Williams. The “Watts Mine Fire” was kept to a little more than three-quarters of an acre.

Another fire happened the same day in the 1500 block of Tyler Creek Road off Highway 66 southeast of Ashland. The “Tyler Creek Fire” burned about two acres on private land before it was quickly extinguished.

A third fire was reported shortly before 4:00 p.m. near Birdseye Creek south of Rogue River. Jackson County Fire District 1 was able to put the fire out while it was still small.

“These fires are a good reminder that, while snowpack levels are higher than in recent years, rainfall in the valleys is still below average and a slight drought persists across southern Oregon,” ODF said. “With warm and windy conditions forecasted this week, the risk of fires spreading naturally increases. While fire season has not been declared in Jackson and Josephine counties yet, southern Oregon is naturally prone to wildfire due to the topography, vegetation types and climate. This shift in weather signals the potential for fires on the landscape.”

ODF said the majority of fires they respond to are accidentally caused by humans. That means by taking proper precautions, many of the fires around southern Oregon can be prevented.

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