With six weeks left until summer, fire crews responded to four fires in Douglas County on Thursday.

The Union Gap Fire, located one mile south of Oakland, burned approximately 18 acres by Friday morning, according to a press release from the Douglas Forest Protective Association. Kyle Reed, a spokesman for the DFPA, said a more accurate map of the burn’s size will be produced in the coming days.

A reverse 911 message was sent to nearby homeowners Thursday afternoon alerting them to the fire. The fire didn’t threaten any homes and no evacuations were issued.

On Thursday, crews used a helicopter to slow the spread of the fire as well as a fire dozer to prevent flames from spreading further up a hill. By nightfall, firefighters were working to install hose lays and create fire lines on each flank of the fire. Crews were engaged overnight and expected the fire’s activity to diminish overnight.

Early Friday morning, crews completed fire lines and were focused on addressing hotspots within the fire area. Fifteen firefighters and a water tender are currently assigned to the fire. Smoke may be visible for several days.

Firefighters from the DFPA, Oakland Rural Fire Department, Sutherlin Fire Department, Fair Oaks Rural Fire Department and North Douglas County Fire & EMS were on the scene.

The preliminary investigation indicated an escaped burn might have caused the fire.

Also, an escaped burn might have started another fire Thursday, according to the DFPA.

The Tiller Trail Highway Fire, located seven miles southeast of Tiller near the community of Drew, had burned approximately 40 acres by Friday morning.

The fire didn’t threaten any homes and no injuries were reported.

On Thursday, crews used three helicopters, a fire dozer and several hand crews to slow the spread of the fire and secure fire lines. Crews were engaged overnight as fire intensity began to diminish.

By Friday morning, firefighters completed fire trails. Forty-five firefighters, three engines and a fire dozer are currently working to extinguish smoldering materials within the fire’s area.

Resources on scene of the fire included the DFPA, the Umpqua National Forest, the Rogue River Hot Shots, the Oregon Department of Forestry, Tiller Rural Fire Department, Milo Rural Fire Department, Days Creek Rural Fire Department, Canyonville South Umpqua Rural Fire Department, Riddle Rural Fire Department, Tri City Rural Fire Department and Myrtle Creek Rural Fire Department.

Earlier Thursday, crews also responded to two smaller fires in the area.

Crews from DFPA and local fire departments suppressed a small grass fire near Kelly Court and Wolf Valley Road in the Kellogg area. The Kelly Court Fire burned about 1/4 acre of grass.

Additionally, firefighters from DFPA, the Oregon Department of Forestry Southwest District, Glendale Fire Department and Wolf Creek Fire Department suppressed a small grass fire along the side of Interstate 5 near milepost 80, near Glendale. The I-5 fire burned about 1/10 of an acre.

Max Egener can be reached at megener@nrtoday.com and 541-957-4217. Or follow him on Twitter @maxegener.

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City Reporter

Max Egener is the city reporter for The News-Review. He has a master's degree from the University of Oregon, and is an avid skier and backpacker.

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