Most of Rum Creek Fire 'encircled by well-defined control lines'

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Sep. 4—Heat and gusty winds were expected to test control lines on the Rum Creek Fire Sunday after firefighters kept growth to 581 acres overnight.

Fire managers reported 27% containment on the blaze, which has been burning along the Lower Rogue River and the near the town of Galice since Aug. 17.

The fire was reported Sunday at 18,966 acres, with much of the growth from controlled burns.

"Nearly the entire Rum Creek Fire is encircled by well-defined control lines," fire managers said Sunday morning. "Crews are mopping up burned areas near the fire's edges, searching for any hidden pockets of heat that might flare up later and allow the fire to escape fire lines."

Portions of the fire will not be declare contained "until fire managers agree that pieces of the fire perimeter have been thoroughly cooled and will not escape," managers said.

Fire officials said they were beginning to release some of the people working the blaze to other fires in the state.

"On Saturday, the Office of the State Fire Marshal began demobilizing task forces from the Rum Creek Fire. Two task forces were reassigned to the Double Creek Fire," a 37,862-acre fire burning in the Hells Canyon National Recreation Area 10 miles from Imnaha.

"On Saturday, the aircraft with Distributed Real-Time Infrared completed its last mapping flight for the Rum Creek Fire. It has been reassigned to another fire with greater need for its capabilities," fire officials said Sunday.

Smoke from the fire, and from fires burning to the south in Northern California, will continue to affect the region. Ashland and Medford were expected to see moderate air quality for much of Sunday, with periods of heavier smoke at times.

The Applegate Valley was expected to see much worse air Sunday, with levels considered unhealthy for sensitive groups.

Smoke from the Mill and Mountain fires in Siskiyou County, California, were expected to move into the Ashland and Medford areas Monday evening.