Rum Creek Fire up to 4,300 acres; residents warned to flee

·3 min read

Aug. 27—The Josephine County Sheriff's Office issued a "Level 3 — Go Now" evacuation alert for the Rand and Galice area Friday night due to the spread of the Rum Creek Fire burning northwest of Grants Pass.

"Leave without delay. It is unsafe to stay and threatens the safety of you, your family, and emergency responders," the sheriff's office said in an alert posted to social media. "Your life could be in great danger. Emergency services personnel may not be available to help you if you choose to stay. This may be the only alert you receive."

For updates and an evacuation map, see www.facebook.com/josephinecountyEM.

The sheriff's office continued to update evacuation notices Friday night into Saturday. As of just after midnight Friday at 12:20 a.m. Saturday, the evacuation notifications were:

* "Level 3 — Go Now" evacuation notice south, west and east of the Rogue River to north of Bear Camp Road including Rand, Galice and Galice Creek Road; north of Belknap Gulch and Little Stratton Creek; south of Angora Road and Lower Grave Creek Road; west of Tom East Creek, Hog Creek Road and Hog Creek.

* "Level 2 — Be Set" to evacuation notice north of Galice Road and the Rogue River; south of Lower Grave Creek Road; and east of Taylor Creek.

* "Level 1 — Be Ready" evacuation notice for north and west of Brimstone and east of Angora Road.

The size of the fire quadrupled in one day, with Inciweb reporting Saturday morning the fire was 4,319 acres, up from 1,256 acres Friday.

A smoke column built up over the east side of the fire Friday due to increased fire activity, and then it collapsed onto suppression operations, which generated increased winds that fanned the flames, fire managers reported Saturday morning.

The fire has been burning on the south side of the Rogue River near the Rainie Falls Trail since it started Aug. 17. It was contained by the Rogue River, which flows north and then takes a bend to the west at the Grave Creek Bridge.

The fire has jumped Galice Road and the Rogue River to the east and south of the previous fire perimeter, according to mapping of the fire footprint available on InciWeb Friday night.

The fire was spreading Friday night in the direction of Indian Mary Park.

The Northwest Incident Management Team 13 managing the fire confirmed in a social media post Friday night that the fire had spread across the river to the south and east.

Rural Fire Metro is assisting with evacuations and has brought in additional support task forces through mutual aid, Northwest Incident Management Team 13 said Friday night.

Josephine County Public Health and the American Red Cross partnered with the Josephine County Fairgrounds and Emergency Management to provide immediate overnight sheltering options for Rum Creek Fire evacuees starting Friday night.

The Red Cross shelter is at the Pavilion Building, small companion animals will be at the Floral building, and large livestock panels can be erected as needed. Staff are available on site.

The fairgrounds are located at 1451 Fairgrounds Road along Highway 199, also known as the Redwood Highway, in Grants Pass.