Rum Creek Fire grows to over 1,200 acres

 

JOSEPHINE COUNTY, Ore.– The Rum Creek Fire grew to more than 1,200 acres, up from about 950 Thursday.

The fire is still 0% contained.

Josephine County Emergency Management has issued Level 2 and 3 evacuation notices for the following areas near the Rum Creek Fire.
Level 3 – GO NOW evacuations: South and West of the Rogue River and North of Bear Camp Road; includes Rand, Galice, and Galice Creek Road.
Level 2 – BE SET evacuations: North of Galice Road and the Rogue River, South of Lower Grave Creek Road, East of the Rogue River and Taylor Creek, West of Hog Creek Road.

Firefighters told NBC 5, it’s stuck at 0% because the rugged terrain is keeping firefighters from getting close to check on containment.

Fire officials said the steep terrain and heavy fuels make the Rum Creek Fire challenging.

They said they’ve dropped over half a million gallons of water on the fire in the past week.

Scott Owen from Incident Management Team 13 said, “we’re attacking the fire with everything that we have.”

Because the terrain is so steep, helicopters are being used rather than putting firefighters on the ground.

Air Operations Branch Manager Nancy Barker said, “aircraft will not put the fire out. All it’s doing is buying time for the folks on the ground to get the time they need to put the lines to mop the fire up.”

Helicopters have put over 500,000 gallons of water and 250,000 gallons of fire retardant on the fire over the last five days.

Officials said their goal is to keep the fire from crossing the Rogue River.

Owen said, “our containment idea is to keep it south and west of the Rogue River. So that is our number one idea and our number one concern with containment.”

Some firefighters have gotten close to the fire and are securing some historic cabins, like the Whiskey Cabin.

“They wrap them in something called structure wrap,” Owen said, “And the idea behind this is that the structure wrap is kind of like a foil blanket over the structure and will help the structure survive any flames that come nearby.”

Thursday, the Bureau of Land Management in Grants Pass announced the closure of some BLM managed areas, because of fire activity.

The closure includes the area west of Galice, on both the south and north side of the Rogue River.

BLM’s Jeanne Klein said, “we know it’s such a draw for people, it’s such an attraction, it’s such an economic boom to the local area.”

Despite the proximity of the fire, BLM said about 100 people with permits were on the river Thursday.

Barker said they’ve had no problems with rafters on the river.

“It’s going well. We’ve got folks in place, we’ve got radios down on the ground and it’s all about communication,” she said.

BLM said they want to keep the river open as long as it’s safe to do so.

Josephine County Emergency Services issued level one “Be Ready” alerts Wednesday near the fire, those are still in effect.

They reminded residents to sign up forĀ  Citizen Alert to get evacuation notifications immediately.

The agency said you can do that at RVEM.org

NBC5 News reporter Derek Strom is from Renton, Washington. He recently graduated from the Edward R. Murrow College of Communications at Washington State University with a degree in Broadcast News and a minor in Sports Management. He played in the drumline with the WSU marching band. These days, he plays the guitar and piano. Derek is a devoted fan of the Mariners, Seahawks, and Kraken.
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