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Fire Alert

New Douglas County wildfire 50% contained; more progress on Klamath fires

Mehl Creek Fire burns in steep terrain near Elkton late Tuesday
Robin Loznak/Kellogg Rural Fire Department
Mehl Creek Fire burns in steep terrain near Elkton late Tuesday

Red Flag Warning for thunderstorms, 'abundant lightning' Wednesday afternoon, evening

ELKTON, Ore. (KTVZ) – A new wildfire was reported Tuesday night in steep terrain three miles southwest of Elkton in Douglas County and grew to 150 acres overnight, but firefighters had it 50 percent contained by Wednesday morning, the Douglas Forest Protective Association reported.

Crews from the Douglas FPA and Elkton Rural Fire Department responded around 8:30 p.m. to a blaze near Mehl Creek Road. The Mehl Creek Fire initially was estimated at 40 acres, burning in a previously logged area and spreading fast up a steep hillside, officials said.

The association said crews made good progress overnight, using bulldozers and hand crews to complete lines around about 80 percent of the fire and reaching 50 percent containment. More than 100 firefighters, a plane and two helicopters were assigned to the fire, which officials said was threatening no homes, with no evacuation orders issued. The cause of the fire was under investigation.

Here's Wednesday morning's update on the two Klamath County wildfires from the South Central Oregon Fire Management Partnership:

While acreage and containment have not changed since last night, firefighters are continuing to make great progress on the Sycan River and Yellow Jacket fires in Klamath County near Beatty.

The Sycan River Fire, burning approximately 20 miles north of Beatty, is 615 acres and 30 percent contained.

Today there are approximately 150 personnel on the fire and work will continue to secure the fire’s edge and mop-up activities.  The SCOFMP Type 3 Team continues to manage the fire.

The evacuation on the Sycan River Fire remains at a Level 1 (get ready) for the Sycan Estates per the Klamath County Sheriff’s Office.

The Yellow Jacket Fire, burning approximately 4 miles south of Beatty, is 34 acres and 80 percent contained.

Crews will continue to work on mop-up today.  There are numerous state, federal and contract resources working on the fire.

There are no evacuations for the Yellow Jacket Fire.  However, three outbuildings and one seasonal cabin were destroyed in the fire.

For the latest evacuation information, visit https://www.facebook.com/KlamathCountyGov. To sign up for Klamath County alerts, visit http://alerts.klamathcounty.org.

Forest Road 27 remains closed from the intersection with Forest Road 30 north to the intersection with Forest Road 46.  This closure is for firefighter and public safety. This is the only road closure associated with fire in the area. However, drivers should be prepared for increased fire traffic in the area and aware of their surroundings.  This includes large equipment on narrow Forest roads and traffic on area highways.

The National Weather Service in Medford has issued a Red Flag Warning in effect Wednesday from 2 to 9 p.m. for abundant lightning on dry fuels in South Central Oregon. Thunderstorms are predicted to be moving from the southwest to northeast.  Gusty and erratic outflow winds could cause extreme fire growth.

The South Central Oregon Fire Management Partnership’s (SCOFMP) federal and state agencies are prepared to respond if the weather conditions happen as forecasted.  While there are two active wildfires in the area, wildland firefighting resources are available to respond to lightning fires across Klamath and Lake counties.

Human-caused wildfires are preventable!  The public is asked to use extreme caution with anything that can spark a fire.  Hot temperatures, dry fuels and high winds can quickly turn a small spark or ember into a large wildfire.

South Central Oregon is already seeing an active and early fire season.  In addition to being careful with anything that can spark a fire, the public can help by reporting suspected wildfires to 911.  Private landowners can create and maintain defensible space around structures, especially in rural and forested areas.

News / Oregon-Northwest / Top Stories

Barney Lerten

Barney is the digital content director for NewsChannel 21. Learn more about Barney here.

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