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Wildfire reported 16 miles outside Shady Cove

 Posted: 10:05 AM January 24, 2014

Oregon Department of Forestry crews have been fighting a wildfire outside Shady Cove that has grown to 125 acres since about 2 p.m. Thursday, ODF officials said.

Public information officer Caitlin Goins said the fire is about 15 miles up Elk Creek Road, about 16 miles northeast of the Shady Cove city limits. Four engines, two water tenders and two 20-person hand crews are on scene drawing lines around the fire. A containment percentage was not available this morning.

No structures are threatened, due to the blaze's remoteness.

It's the first significant wildfire to break out since the National Weather Service issued a red flag warning for Southern Oregon Thursday. A parched landscape due to low snowpack and lackluster precipitation prompted the unusually early warning that typically is not issued until the summer months.

"It is very concerning," Goins said. "It's very dry out there."

The warning is in effect until noon today and covers all of the western Rogue Basin including the Illinois Valley. The greatest fire danger remains at elevations between 2,500 and 5,000 feet. Winds have elevated the danger further, with eastbound winds of up to 20 mph and gusts up to 35 mph possible.

"The combination of dry conditions, gusty east winds and low humidity will create critical fire weather conditions where any new ignitions could experience rapid fire growth," a statement from the National Weather Service reads.

There is no estimated time of full containment on the fire. No cause has yet been determined.

— Ryan Pfeil

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