Northwest Fires
5:20 pm
Wed July 31, 2013

State of Emergency Declared for Counties Affected by Wildfire in SW Oregon

Oregon Governor John Kitzhaber has declared a state of emergency for Douglas and Josephine counties because of a complex of wildfires that's grown to more than 25-thousand acres. 

The Oregon Department of Environmental Quality has rated the air "very unhealthy" in the region.
The Oregon Department of Environmental Quality has rated the air "very unhealthy" in the region.
Credit Douglas Forest Protective Association

The blazes in southwest Oregon are threatening 400 homes. About 100 people remain under evacuation orders. Lightning storms could worsen fire conditions.

The Douglas Complex was sparked Saturday by lightning near the town of Glendale. Chris Friend is with the Oregon Department of Forestry. He says the forecast is calling for more lightning which could increase the challenge for fire crews.

"The first of the storms will probably be dry lightning and with lightning you get a lot of winds usually, erratic winds, that can blow the fire out in any direction" says Friend.

The Oregon Department of Environmental Quality has rated the air "very unhealthy" in the region. Friend says they're getting smoke from several different wildfires.

"That smoke has been growing in different directions, to the south to Rogue Valley, up to the north to the Canyonville area, and it's been very thick at times" says Friend.

Federal authorities have closed a section of the Rogue River to recreation because of smoke. The governor's emergency declaration authorizes the Oregon National Guard to help with fire-fighting efforts.

Copyright 2013 KLCC

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