On Saturday, firefighters continued to fight fires in the South Umpqua Complex located 45 miles southeast of Roseburg. As of 8 a.m. Saturday, Umpqua National Forest Service officials said the fires had grown to 2,229 acres and are 10 percent contained.

Thirty different crews consisting of over 927 personnel worked to contain the blaze with the help of five helicopters, 19 fire engines, nine bulldozers and 19 water tender trucks Saturday. It is believed the fire started June 15 from a lighting strike.

The largest of the three South Umpqua Complex fires is dubbed the Miles Fire and is burning an area of 300 acres near Hawk Mountain and Tison Road. In order to better tackle the Miles Fire, two fire crews spent Friday night conducting controlled burns between the blaze and a pre-established dug-out fire line. Progress was hindered by high humidity in the evening which kept fuel from burning.

Pumps and hoses were installed along the bottom edge of the fire, and a newly arrived Skycrane helicopter was used to drop water on the edges of the fire. The wind created in the canyons pushed the fire further southeast. These winds moved the Snowshoe Fire onto lands owned by the Bureau of Land Management while the Cripple Creek Fire has been contained.

Weather in the South Umpqua Complex is expected to get hotter, drier and smokier.

As the wind changes, it is predicted the smoke from the fires will gradually shift southwest and affect the Tiller area. Pacific Power electrical lines, two campgrounds, private land, homes and several historical areas are at risk from the fires.

The Umpqua National Forest has issued an emergency fire closure for several trails and roads.

A community meeting to discuss the fires in the South Umpqua Complex is planned for 6:30 p.m. Monday at the Tiller Fire station.

In addition to the fires burning in the South Umpqua Complex, Douglas Forest Protective Association crews have been monitoring several wild fires closer to Roseburg.

Around 7:15 p.m. Friday, fire crews responded to two small brush fires, each smaller than an acre in size. The first was located near Highway 42 and Kingsway Lane while the second was located about three-quarters of a mile west of the first fire.

Dubbed the Campus Mountain Fires, crews quickly put out the flames and were mopping up hot spots by 10 p.m. Friday.

Eric Schucht is a general assignment reporter for The News-Review. He can be reached at 541-957-4217 or eschucht@nrtoday.com.

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Eric Schucht is the Charles Snowden intern at The News-Review. He recently graduated from the University of Oregon.

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