Coos County task force at Garner Complex fire

Members of the Coos County task force at the Garner Complex fire.

The Taylor Creek fire west of Grants Pass has been removed from the Garner Complex fire grouping and is now under new management.

According to the Joint Information Center, the Taylor Creek fire has increased and is now burning over 26,000 acres with only 20 percent of it contained. The Pacific Northwest National Incident Management team 2 has taken over of the fire, which began earlier this month after a lighting storm hit the area.

Currently, about 1,165 firefighters and safety personnel have been assigned to help contain the fire. JIC reported lands and recreational portions along the Rogue River are now closed, which has been ordered by the Bureau of Lang Management.

The Oregon State Marine Board filed a temporary rule to close boating on the Rogue River from Hog Creek to Galice effective immediately. The area is about 10 miles west of Grants Pass and firefighters are working to prevent expansion into the community of Merlin.

The Garner Complex fire is now 65 percent contained and fire crews have been working diligently on mopping up areas to ensure they are cooled down.

According to the Oregon Department of Forestry website, the state’s preparedness level has been increased to five, which is the highest possible. It currently matches the national level, and ODF districts have raised its fire danger levels as well.

Coos Forest Protective Association has issued level three industrial closures in zones CS-2 and SK-1 of the county. These areas encompass private lands within the Rogue-Siskiyou National Forest and most of the interior of the county.

Last week, Coos County Board of Commissioners issued a press release reminding citizens of fire season and taking the necessary precautions to avoid fires on county forest lands.

“The forest is dry this year and we don’t want to close it to recreation,” said Coos County Commissioner John Sweet in the press release. “However, if people aren’t careful and we have a fire, I don’t think we will have a choice.”

The board recently passed an ordinance granting the county forester to close or restrict hours of usage on all county forest lands. The forester will be able to do so if he deems it necessary to protect the lands from any potential threat to its property and to the safety of the general public.  

According to the National Interagency Fire Center, Oregon now has the most wildfires in the state compared to the whole country. There are currently 16 active fires, most of which are located throughout southern Oregon.

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