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Crews Making Progress on Onion Mountain Fire

John Luerding/JL-Images.com

UPDATE: Friday 9/19/14 10:35 a.m.

The Onion Mountain fire in Josephine County  is now estimated at 4,102 acres with 20 percent containment.

The fire is burning in grass, brush and timber in the Rogue River-Siskiyou National Forest, 13 miles west of Grants Pass. 

According to the latest update from fire officials, "Firefighters had another productive day building containment lines around a good portion of the fire perimeter, taking advantage of decreased burning conditions from cool, wet weather.  Crews progressed significantly in their effort to contain the western and northern flanks by constructing direct line along the unchecked fire edge.

"Crews began installing pumps and hoselays so that water can be used to bolster completed handline and dozer line and begin mopping up burning materials along the fire perimeter. As a contingency or back up plan, crews and heavy equipment will continue brushing road systems and use chippers to dispose of the debris.


"The majority of aircraft assigned to the fire remained grounded yesterday [Thursday] due to poor visibilty, but clear skies today should enable helicopters and airplanes to assist the firefighting effort by dropping water and providing aerial surveillance."


The Josephine County Sheriff's office lifted some Level 1 ("Get Ready") evacuation alerts, but the alerts remain in effect for Pickett Creek, Shan Creek, Taylor Creek, and Galice Creek areas.

The Josephine County Sheriff's Office also reports someone is calling people in the fire area -- pretending to be from the Sheriff's Office -- and telling them they need to evacuate immediately. The Sheriff's Office says if high-level evacuation orders are issued, uniformed emergency personnel will come to your door to notify you. They do not call on the telephone.

This weekend, the National Weather Service is calling for daytime highs in the mid-70s and mid-80s with relative humidity bottoming out at 20 to 25 percent, which could increase fire activity.

An informational number has been set up at 541-474-5305.

The cause of the fire is under investigation.

Liam Moriarty has been covering news in the Pacific Northwest for three decades. He served two stints as JPR News Director and retired full-time from JPR at the end of 2021. Liam now edits and curates the news on JPR's website and digital platforms.