Progress made on Smith River Complex as containment reaches 19%

JOSEPHINE COUNTY, Ore. – Fire crews are making headway on the Smith River Complex.

Lower temperatures and increased relative humidity limited fire behavior over the weekend.

“It definitely started to bring down the fire intensity we were seeing, got us down more to a moderate to minimal fire behavior that we’re seeing on the fire, so it allowed crews much more time to gain some ground,” Northwest Incident Management Team 13 spokesperson Derek Shoun said.

Favorable weather conditions and smoke clearing out allowed firefighters to gain more containment.

About a half-an-inch of rain fell in most parts of the fire.

Despite that, fuels will begin to dry out quickly, with a warming trend on the way.

“That’s not a lot to penetrate the heavier fuels that are on the ground, a lot of those dead trees that are on the ground, things like that, which hold that heat in and burn a lot more intensely,” Shoun said. “Those are going to become more readily available again and as things dry up here in the next few days there is that to see some fire behavior to pick back up.”

After having over 3,000 personnel on the complex, crews are beginning to depart.

That includes the ‘Oregon State Fire Marshal’s Office’, who was deployed just a week ago.

OSFM’ provided structure protection to more than 700 comes and 1,800 outbuildings.

On Saturday, the Josephine County Sheriff’s Office announced that all level 3 evacuation orders in the county have been downgraded to warnings.

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NBC5 News reporter Zachary Larsen grew up in Surprise, Arizona. He graduated from Arizona State University's Walter Cronkite School of Journalism. At ASU, Zack interned at Arizona Sports 98.7FM and Softball America. During his Junior year, Zack joined the ASU Sports Bureau. He covered the Fiesta Bowl, the Phoenix Open and major basketball tournaments. Zack enjoys working out, creative writing, music, and rooting for his ASU Sun Devils.
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