Worthington fire has burned 600 acres

EAGLE POINT, Ore. —Firefighters are continuing to battle the Worthington Fire located between Eagle Point and Butte Falls, near the Brownsboro highway. The Southwest Oregon Department of Forestry said it’s burned 600 acres as of July 31, with zero containment. Firefighters saw the first full day of the firefight is going extremely well and no structures have been destroyed.

“We’re not out of the woods by any means. In terms with this fire, where we are now and where we were at 7 p.m. yesterday evening is a big change,” said Brian Ballou with ODF. After winds went fromn “light and gusty” to “strong and sustained” on Thursday night, “It pushed the fire through the fuel aggressively and thats when it crossed Worthington road,” said Ballou.

That shift in weather forced evacuation notices for homes on Worthington Road, from the 1500 block to the end of the road, near the 2300 block.  Ballou said despite the jump, the first full day of fighting the fire had gone smoothly. “When we have a fire that just won’t behave, like this one, that’s when it really comes into play the quality of mutual aid,” said Ballou. Several agencies are helping ODF, including the Bureau of Land Mangement, Jackson County District 3 and Wildland firefighters.

“We feel like we’ve got all the equipment and personnel to do the job,” said Ballou.

While the agencies are working well together, the weather is working against them. Ballou says they are expecting a cold front, “which means wind for us. So, containment could be out there a ways,” said Ballou.

ODF said firefighters need to work for at least another day before evacuation orders can be lifted. They said they have a fire line around 90 percent of the fire, but that doesn’t mean it’s contained. Containment only comes after a fire line circles the entire fire and fire crews have mopped up around the interior of the fire line.

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