© 2024 | Jefferson Public Radio
Southern Oregon University
1250 Siskiyou Blvd.
Ashland, OR 97520
541.552.6301 | 800.782.6191
Listen | Discover | Engage a service of Southern Oregon University
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

Golden Fire forces Klamath County evacuations, likely human caused

Oregon Fire Marshal's Office

A wildfire first spotted Saturday afternoon (July 22) near Bly Mountain forced evacuations in Klamath County and quick mobilization of firefighters and equipment from around Oregon.

First reports of the Golden Fire came in just before 1 p.m. Saturday. The fire burned through private and Bureau of Land Management land in short order, reaching hundreds of acres by nightfall.

Level 3/Go Now evacuations covered residents East of Highway 140E, North of Keno Springs Lane, and South of Polar Bear Lane. Red Cross workers set up an emergency shelter at Bonanza High School. Some evacuated residents were able to return home Sunday morning.

By then, Oregon Governor Tina Kotek had declared a conflagration, making the fire a priority for firefighting crews and equipment.

Sunday morning estimates pegged the fire's size at around 2,000 acres, with a Red Flag Warning in effect for optimal conditions for the fire spreading: high heat, low humidity, and breezy winds.

The cause of the fire is under investigation, according to the Klamath County Sheriff's office. But in a press release, law enforcement officials said the fire was probably caused by human activity, and added "Initial information is that the fire began on private property being used to grow marijuana illegally."

Jump to JPR News Fire Tracker

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.