Fire group forms as southern Oregon is named top priority

Fire Season 2019: For the latest updates on fires buring in our region, go here: Fire Season 2019.

Grants Pass, Ore. – Lightning over the weekend sparked numerous fires around the Rogue Valley. Now the U.S. Forest Service is coordinating to give residents the most up to date information possible all in one place.

Hendrix fire, Natchez and Sugar Pine fires are just some of the problem for the U.S. Forest Service and other agencies in Southern Oregon.

“We had over a thousand recorded strikes in our response area here on Sunday and probably somewhere over 100 actual fires from that,” U.S. Forest Service Public Information Officer, Don Ferguson said. “We are probably about 95% successful in putting those fires out.It’s the other 5% that give us the problems.”

Ferguson says a new collaboration between his agency, ODF and others is aimed at helping residents feel safer and get updates faster.

“So what we want is a one stop shopping place where people can call up and tell us their issue, where they are and what fire they want to know about and we can get them to the right source of information that way,” he said.

The agency is forming as Southern Oregon has been named the top priority in the Pacific Northwest for resources due to the severe outbreak of flames in the Rogue Valley.

“Nationally we don’t have a lot of competition for resources right now,” Ferguson said. “Most of the action in the northwest is right here in southwest Oregon. ”

The multi-agency group opens the information center on Monday. The Forest Service says they’ve responded to over 50 fires since Sunday, and most are being mopped up or patrolled.

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