(Galice, OR) -- The Rum Creek Fire, burning northwest of Grants Pass, is just 1% contained as resources from across the west respond to help. Marcus Kauffman is with the Oregon Department of Forestry management team working the Rum Creek Fire. He says ongoing drought led to extremely dry fuels in a very rugged area, "It’s up a steep river canyon, which makes access very difficult. And then we’ve had some critical fire weather, with high temperatures, low humidity and windy conditions. You put all those things together, and it makes for a fire that’s very difficult to control."
Governor Kate Brown declared a conflagration over the weekend, clearing the way for more help to respond, "The resources who work for us are coming from all over Oregon, Washington and California. We just received a bunch of Cal Fire and Cal EOS resources that came out of the Bay Area," says Kauffman. Bend Fire & Rescue tells KBND News the agency sent three firefighters, two chiefs and an interface engine. They’re expected to remain in Josephine County for two weeks.
As of Wednesday morning, the Rum Creek Fire was estimated at 13,994 acres and evacuation orders remain in place for some nearby areas. It's also causing very unhealthy air quality in southern Oregon, "The smoke has been pushing south into the community of Illinois Valley and Cave Junction, pushing east over into the Applegate Valley, and then also pushing all the way far south into San Francisco."
The Rum Creek Fire was first spotted August 17. It’s believed to have been sparked by lightning.