Umpqua National Forest Fires

Firefighters construct handline during wildfires on the Umpqua National Forest in 2017.

With more than 25 confirmed wildfires burning in the Umpqua National Forest, an incident management team has been brought in to help manage the blazes.

As of Wednesday morning, 300 firefighters are working on suppressing 300 acres of wildfires in the region.

Fire behavior is expected to increase as temperatures rise in the coming days, according to the U.S. Forest Service.

The incident management team joined the efforts Wednesday.

Forest Service spokeswoman Emily Veale said the team is brought on when there’s an increased level of complexity in wildfires.

The team comes with an incident commander — Shawn Sheldon — and a management team that will provide another level of support in the South Umpqua Complex.

The majority of the fires are burning in the Tiller Ranger District, and Veale said fires range from a single tree to the largest fire, which is more than 100 acres.

Over the weekend, lightning ignited many of the blazes, and what started with 19 wildfires quickly jumped to 25 by Wednesday.

Tuesday’s hot, windy weather exacerbated some of the fire activity in the Tiller District.

Three hotshot crews, two helicopters, multiple air-tankers, several dozers and other heavy equipment have been assisting with suppression efforts this week.

On Tuesday, Umpqua National Forest fire managers, the Douglas Forest Protective Association and the Douglas County Sheriff’s Office met to brief the incoming incident management team.

“Having an in brief with the incoming team and our key partners is essential.” Forest Service Fire Manager Riva Duncan said in a prepared statement. “Our cooperators are able to voice concerns and offer support which allows for the team to have a well-rounded picture of not only the fire but the community as well.”

More resources are being brought in and firefighters are continuing to respond to new smoke reports.

Six structures are threatened and an electrical transmission line was de-energized as a precaution.

Veale said residents should be aware of the public-use restrictions currently in effect to minimize any human-caused fires.

“People still need to be aware that we have high fire danger,” Veale said.

Restrictions prohibit campfires that aren’t in a ring at a developed campground, smoking around flammable material outside and cutting firewood.

Saphara Harrell can be reached at 541-957-4216 or sharrell@nrtoday.com. Or on Twitter @daisysaphara.

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Crime and Natural Resources Reporter

Saphara Harrell is the crime and natural resources reporter for The News-Review. She previously worked at The World in Coos Bay. Follow her on Twitter @daisysaphara.

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