In Southern Oregon fire crews are responding to multiple fires, including the Two for Two Fire west of Chiloquin, The Grizzy Creek fire near Howard Prairie, and major fires in Ashland, Talent, Phoenix, Medford, Central Point and Eagle Point all on Tuesday, spurred by embers moving in high winds with hot temperatures and dry conditions. Fires are still raging throughout the Rogue Valley today.
In the Rogue Valley area, the update at 11AM, Wednesday, 9/9 from ODOT:
Interstate 5 (Pacific Highway)-Ashland: interstate is closed between exits 14 (south Ashland) and 21 (Talent) due to wildfire. Expect delays. Avoid the area.
Oregon 99 – (Rogue Valley Highway):southbound lanes are closed due to wildfire at MP 17, two miles south of Talent. Evacuation levels have not yet changed on the Almeda Drive Fire area as of 9:30 a.m. on Wednesday morning. Fires continue to burn in Talent and Phoenix, north into south Medford.
Additional updates for the incident may be accessed on the Oregon State Fire Marshal Facebook page: www.facebook.com/OregonStateFireMarshal/.
Evacuation information in Jackson County can be found on the Jackson County Sheriff’s Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/pg/JacksonCountySheriff/.
Jackson County is urging evacuated residents to stay away from the closure area and “respect the evacuation zone.” Evacuees are asked to continue sheltering in place and otherwise avoid the area.
“Crews are actively working in the Talent/Phoenix area. Attempts to enter are hindering emergency efforts and blocking roadways, including I-5. There are downed utility lines and poles and other fire debris. Please stay away until such time it’s clear,” said Captain Tim Snaith with the Jackson County Sheriff’s Office.
Several evacuation orders for the Rogue Valley have been downgraded to Level 1. Evacuation levels are broken down by region below.
NORTH MEDFORD: North Medford is now a Level 1, which means be ready to evacuate. This area includes McAndrews Road to the south; Oregon 99 to the west; Beall Lane to the north; Interstate 5 to the east.
CENTRAL POINT: Central Point is now a Level 1, which means be ready to evacuate. This area includes Beall Lane to the South; Freeman Road to the West to Exit 33; and Petro Truck Stop to the East as well as all of east Central Point, Pine Street to Table Rock Road.
SOUTH MEDFORD: LEVEL 3: If you are south of Glenwood Ave. on Hwy 99 and south of Campbell Road in the North Phoenix area you are at Level 3. This area is from Hwy 99 to the area of North Phoenix. LEVEL 2: All areas south of Barnett Road to Campbell Rd and Glenwood.
LEVEL 1: All of Jackson County is considered at Level 1.
Crews are tackling a fast-moving fire that started in the City of Ashland, burned through Talent, Phoenix, and into parts of Medford. The fire has been officially named the Glendower fire, but has also been referred to as the Almeda fire, because it started near Glendower Street & Almeda Drive in Ashland, Oregon.
The Obenchain Fire burning in northern Jackson County is prompting more evacuation notices. The fire was first reported Tuesday afternoon east of Eagle Point. At last report Tuesday afternoon, the fire was an estimated 1,700 acres.
The latest evacuation orders around the fire were issued at about 9:00 a.m. Wednesday. They include Level 3 (Go!) from Butte Falls Road north along both sides of Highway 62 west to Rogue River to Brophy Road at the south end of Shady Cove. The City of Shady Cove will remain in a Level 2 (be set) evacuation status until further notice. A temporary evacuation point has been set up at the Jackson County Expo in Central Point. However, sheltering is not available.
The City of Ashland yesterday ordered evacuations for “all homes near fire from Michelle Street west to lower Cambridge Street” due to a fire near Bear Creek.
By mid-afternoon, Interstate 5 was closed as was the detour route, Highway 99, between Medford and Ashland and both roadways were full of traffic with no alternate route to take. Evacuations were started all the way to Talent.
Jackson County Expo Center was taking stranded motorists and evacuees in shelter in Central Point as of Tuesday night.
Medford Police said that the fire is moving in a northwest direction from Phoenix and into south Medford, but flames are also moving up the Bear Creek Greenway toward the middle of Medford. Charles Point Estates on Lowry Lane are also being evacuated.
The Almeda Drive Fire is still completely uncontained. It was last estimated at 1,500 acres.
The Emergency Operation Center Command is urging residents to “respect the zone.”
They say residents trying to enter the closed areas in the Talent/Phoenix area are hindering emergency efforts.
Jackson County Sheriff’s Department says fire crews are busy today actively working in the Talent and Phoenix area. Attempts to enter the area are hindering emergency efforts and blocking roadways, including I-5. They ask residents to stay away from these areas while they fight fires of homes and businesses. There are downed utility lines and other fire debris.