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Check here for information on fires in our region. You can also check out these resources:Northwest Interagency Coordination CenterSWOFIRE: Oregon Department of Forestry, SW regionCalFire: Current Fire InformationInciWeb: Incident Information SystemOregon Smoke Blog: Smoke informationSouth Central Oregon Fire Management Cooperative (Klamath/Lake Counties & Crater Lake)

Closure: Fire Lines Surround Stouts Creek

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Stouts Creek Fire Facebook Page
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It does not count as containment yet, but fire crews have succeeded in encircling the Stouts Creek Fire in southern Douglas County.

By dawn Friday (Aug. 21), a "blackline" surrounded the fire at slightly more than 26,000 acres.  A blackline is where the fire has burned to a road or other fire line, and the perimeter is secure. 

Operations Section Chief John Pellisier of the Oregon Department of Forestry is upbeat: “I was able to sleep easy last night knowing that we have this thing cinched up.”

The gradual easing of fire conditions released more crews to fight more urgent fires.  By Friday morning, half as many firefighters were assigned to fight Stouts Creek as had been assigned last weekend.

But Pellisier and other fire managers caution that plenty of work lies ahead: plenty of unburned fuel lies behind the fire lines, and temperatures are expected to heat up over the weekend.  The Stouts Creek Fire is east of Canyonville, near the community of Milo, burning on private and federal land.

The fire started three weeks ago.  Fire investigators say a man mowing dry grass caused it, and since the mowing took place during a time of day when mowing is prohibited , the man--so far unnamed--could be billed for firefighting costs.  Costs to date total $33.3 Million.

By the numbers, as of this morning: 26,188 acres (roughly 41 square miles), 80% contained.  Firefighters number 764.

Geoffrey Riley is a graduate of the University of Missouri School of Journalism and has hosted the Jefferson Exchange on JPR since 2009. He's been a broadcaster in the Rogue Valley for more than 35 years, working in both television and radio.