The Flat Fire is currently ablaze in what is historically Oregon’s most frequently impacted area by wildfires. Noteworthy large-scale fires in this region from recent years include the Biscuit fire in 2002, Chetco Bar in 2017, and Klondike in 2018.
The Flat Fire, a rapidly escalating wildfire, is currently engulfing the region of Rogue River-Siskiyou National Forest situated between Gold Beach and Grants Pass. Adverse meteorological circumstances late Sunday and early Monday contributed significantly to the fire’s accelerated spread. A coordinated interagency group assumed the role of managing the fire from local bodies on Monday.
As per reports, a crew comprising of 378 individuals is striving to control the fire that endangers approximately 40 buildings within the petite community of Agness and its vicinity. Monday witnessed these teams endeavoring to establish firelines to inhibit further spread of the fire.
The Flat Fire holds the unfortunate title of being the most extensive wildfire currently ablaze in Oregon. The near future is expected to see an influx of additional teams and firefighting equipment.
The local authorities have established an evacuation center at Gold Beach High School for those displaced due to the fire. However, no evacuation orders have been issued as of Monday. Local residents can register for emergency alerts with the Curry County Emergency Management Department through Everbridge.
While no official prohibitions have been instituted in the area, it’s strongly advised for individuals to steer clear and refrain from hindering firefighting operations. The fire’s locus is an extremely isolated region, with Agness’ zip code housing roughly 300 individuals. This area, nestled between the Rogue and Illinois rivers, is a cherished recreational spot. The arduous, hilly terrain poses additional challenges for the firefighting crew’s access.
Sheesh. Southern Oregon's #FlatFire grew to 8,200 acres and a red flag warning has been issued for the Willamette Valley this afternoon for hot temps, high winds and low humidity. Latest update: https://t.co/yDQmkOqVqA pic.twitter.com/byQnI7oUuF— Zach Urness🏔️ (@ZachsORoutdoors) July 18, 2023
A dedicated Facebook page has been launched for the fire, wherein future updates from the relevant agencies will be disseminated. The wildfire has presently engulfed areas on both sides of the Illinois River.
Doug Epperson, a representative from the interagency team, highlighted that the fire is consuming new vegetation grown since the 2002 Biscuit Fire, one of Oregon’s most massive recorded wildfires.
Reflecting on the past fire, Epperson noted, “There’s been a lot of growth since then. But we can also apply the knowledge we gleaned from that event to aid in tackling this fire.”
A red flag warning, indicative of weather conditions favoring fire spread, will remain active till Tuesday morning. An air quality advisory has been issued for sections of Curry and Josephine counties, warning that the Flat Fire’s smoke may adversely impact the air quality.