Firefighters work to knock down lightning-sparked fires across the region

CENTRAL POINT, Ore. — Firefighting agencies from around the region have been responding to several reports of small lightning-sparked fires as a result of overnight thunderstorms in Southern Oregon.

“Thankfully with this storm that passed through we had a lot of rain overnight and it’s helping to keep those fires small,” Natalie Weber, ODF, said.

ODF said it had more than 30 reports of fires Thursday morning, 18 of those were confirmed with most of the fires on the east side of the interstate from the California- Oregon border to Grizzly Peak and Butte Falls.

In Josephine County, fires range from the Applegate Valley to Deer Creek, Sexton Mountain and Wolf Creek.  The largest is south of Butte Falls, estimated to be ¾ of an acre.

ODF has more than 100 firefighters working in Jackson and Josephine counties.

“We also have our dispatch center fully staffed as well as our detection center here in Medford fully staffed so it’s really all hands on deck today,” Weber said.

Ashland Fire & Rescue was also busy Thursday as it joined with Jackson County Fire District Five toward Siskiyou Summit. ODF crews took over shortly after.

“Most of the ones that we received this morning were just off of I-5, Battalion Chief Kelly Burns, Ashland Fire & Rescue, said. “Commuters that are traveling can see smoke on the hillside. We had one near milepost 8.5. We also had one or two up in the watershed.”

Ashland Fire & Rescue said they’re ready for the possibility of more fires having added an extra engine just in case anything pops up.

“We’re ready to go, ODF’s ready to go,” Burns said.

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