Human-caused wildfire near Gold Beach covers 300 acres, expected to grow

Posted by Zach Urness  Salem Statesman Journal
Published 5:13 p.m. UTC Jul 2, 2018
The Lobster Creek Fire burns 13 miles away from Gold Beach on the Oregon Coast.
Photo by Dena Nickell

A human-caused wildfire burning in southwest Oregon grew to an estimated 300 acres Sunday night.

The Lobster Creek Fire, located about 12 miles northeast of Gold Beach, was reported Sunday afternoon but grew quickly, driven by high winds, officials said.

The fire — the largest so far this year in western Oregon — is burning in the upper reaches of Lobster Creek, a tributary of the Rogue River, on private timberland and county land.

Fire teams began attacking the fire around 1:55 p.m. with multiple assets, but the blaze has been difficult to control so far, said Jef Chase with the Coos Forest Protective Association.

“The fire is being really resistant to control efforts, and is sending spot fires out front with the strong winds,” Chase said. “We’re establishing lines where we can hold it, but with steep and narrow canyons, it can get established and run out.

“We had a dry spring and summer, and it’s burning in larger fuels.”

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This picture, showing smoke from the Lobster Creek Fire, was posted by the National Weather Service in Medford.
National Weather Service

The fire isn’t currently threatening any structures or populated areas, Chase said.

The fire was human-caused — although it’s unclear how — and is under investigation, Chase said.

Four crews are currently fighting the fire, using two dozers and six aircraft. More assets have been ordered, Chase said.

Although small so far, the fire is likely to spark memories of the Chetco Bar Fire, which burned almost 200,000 acres last summer just to the south.

MORE FIRE COVERAGE:

CHETCO BAR FIRE: How a small blaze erupted into Oregon’s largest wildfire

APPROVED: Chetco Bar Fire area get OK for salvage logging by U.S. Forest Service

NEGATIVE EFFECTS: Oregon redwoods ‘severely burned’ by Chetco Bar Fire

MORE: Campers’ charcoal ignites wildfire in Opal Creek area, now contained

Zach Urness has been an outdoors writer, photographer and videographer in Oregon for 10 years. He can be reached at zurness@StatesmanJournal.com or (503) 399-6801. Find him on Twitter at @ZachsORoutdoors.