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Klondike Fire Keeps Growing to 11,200 Acres

by Zach Urness-Salem Statesman Journal |

Oregon’s largest wildfire continues its slow and steady march.

The Klondike Fire, burning in the remote region between Grants Pass and Gold Beach, grew to 112,307 acres Tuesday morning in the state’s southwest corner.

It was a growth of 3,000 acres in about 24 hours, fueled by high winds and warm air that led to red flag conditions over the holiday weekend. More growth is expected today.

There was no change to evacuation levels in Agness, a small river outpost on the Rogue River, which remains on a level 2 evacuation status, meaning “get set” to go at a moment’s notice. The fire is about 5 miles from the town.

The fire is burning in highly remote terrain around the Kalmiopsis Wilderness, birthplace of many of Oregon’s largest fires.

The fire burned across portions of Indigo Creek and its forks on Monday, fire officials said. Indigo Creek is a scenic tributary of the Illinois River. The fire is right at the confluence of the two forks — a place known as Indian Flats, officials said.
“The fire will continue to grow until we can get our troops in there, on the ground,” fire spokesman Justin Haynes said. “Right now, it’s not safe to do that.”

Haynes said the focus was on protecting structures and building containment lines around the blaze with road systems and old fire lines.

“We’re making sure the fire doesn’t impact lives and property, and we’re using aircraft to check the fire when the opportunities arise,” he said.

The Klondike Fire, which ignited in mid-July during a lightning storm that led to an outbreak of hundreds of fires across the region, is Oregon’s largest wildfire by a wide margin.