The Tolman Creek Road fire in the south Ashland Hills was reported at approximately 10:35 a.m. and has consumed 153 acres, one residence, several small structures, and one pick up truck. The Roxy Ann Peak fire on the east side of Medford was reported at approximately 2:27 p.m. has consumed 250 to 300 acres of brush, and threatened hundreds of homes.
Both of these wildfires are a prime example of the ever-present threat posed by “urban / wild land interface fires.” The population growth of the past years throughout southern Oregon means an influx of people building homes in fire prone areas fire fighters call the urban / wild land interface. People find these rural forested areas on the hillsides to be beautiful, serene places to leave; and they are. However, homes in these areas are often times surrounded by the flammable vegetation present in or at the edges of forestland, and they are at serious risk from wild fire.
Yesterday fires although initially small (like most fires at their onset) spread very quickly, driven by gusty winds of 15 to 20 mph; forced the evacuation of hundreds of residents, created havoc in the immediate area of the fires and nearby communities forcing road closures and causing power losses for extended periods of time; and stretched fire crews to the limit of their capabilities to protect many structures that would otherwise have been lost to the advancing flames.
For those residents that live in the urban / wild land interface areas of the District, the best protection for their homes is creating a “defensible space” around them. Defensible space makes homes less susceptible to damage by an approaching wild fire. It also makes the job of the fire fighters that are trying to protect residents easier and safer. If fire fighters do not have to worry about protecting high risk homes and evacuating residents, they can focus their resources and efforts in putting brush fires out without having to place themselves in more serious danger trying to defend vulnerable structures.
Douglas County Fire District No.2 officials are committed to assist residents in the prevention of injury, loss of life and property damage from wild fire by helping them identify those problem areas which make many homes in or nearby forested areas unsafe; and by showing them the measures that can be taken to improve a home’s defenses to give it the ability to survive a wild fire.