Fire near Gold Hill spreads quickly in heat

A helicopter makes a water drop on the fire at Nugget Butte near Gold Hill on August 16. The fire was approximately one mile north of Gold Hill on Highway 234 and burned a total of 9 acres.

Weather during the last few days leaves little doubt that there is a serious potential for burning up the state. That should be a message to us all to be extra careful while around any wooded areas or those tall grasses that are so easily ignited.

A Thursday afternoon fire near Gold Hill burned several acres of grass and trees. That fire was doused by quick action from Oregon Department of Forestry, Fire District #3 and the Forest Service. The fire burned approximately 9 acres before being extinguished.

Fire crews assigned to that blaze, called the Nugget Butte fire, were extremely fortunate that there was little wind, because the terrain was steep and the brush was extremely heavy. Two helicopters and two DC-7 tankers were involved in fighting the fire from the air. Helicopters dipped from the Rogue River, just downhill from where the fire started.

ODF poured the manpower to the fire with two 10-man crews assisted by a 16-person crew from the Forest service. Six engines and two water tenders protected four or five homes in the immediate vicinity.

According to ODF, the fire was put out shortly before dark on the 16th, but crews remained at the site mopping up to make certain that no residual hotspots remain.

Fire District #3 has the function of protecting structures within our area while ODF will be on hand to protect wild lands or the spread of a blaze to the wild lands. The cause of this particular fire is unknown at press time.

The area around Gold Hill is extremely brushy and the species of vegetation surrounding area homes make them very dangerous because of their potential for burning very hot and for a long period of time. Homeowners in the area would do themselves a great service by creating a safe area around their homes that will not allow the spread of flames to their dwelling.


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