Overnight rain and snow delivered the knockout punch to the 2017 fire season in southwest Oregon and snow to the region's mountain passes.
At 9 a.m. Friday, the season ended for the 1.8 million acres of lands in Jackson and Josephine counties, 138 days after it began on June 4. By noon that day, anywhere from one-tenth of an inch to nearly 1½ inches had fallen across the two counties, according to National Weather Service data. That includes just over half an inch for Medford.
"This was the one to do it, that actually provided the fuel moisture we needed," said Melissa Cano, Oregon Department of Forestry public information officer. "Even though it's going to be dry next week, it should be cool enough to withstand it."
More than 2 inches had fallen across parts of the Oregon Coast, meteorologist Michelle Cohen said. That moisture dealt a significant blow to the remaining bits of the Chetco Bar fire, with more than an inch falling across the fire area, according to a news release.
The region's 2017 fire season notched 335 wildland fires on ODF-protected lands in Jackson and Josephine counties alone. That number does not include the 191,000 acre Chetco Bar Fire or other larger fire complexes on federal lands. Of the 335 fires on ODF-protected lands, 127 were sparked by lightning and 97 percent were 10 acres or less in size.
Based on data from the past 10 years, an average fire season for the two-county area lasts 140 days with an average number of 235 fires.
The wet weather also ended campfire restrictions within the boundaries of Rogue River's Wild & Scenic section, which flows between Grave Creek and Watson Creek, according to a news release. Restrictions on where people can smoke on that stretch have also been lifted.
More wet weather is expected. A good amount of snow is forecast to coat the Southern Oregon Cascade Range by late Saturday morning.
The Weather Service has issued a winter weather advisory until 11 a.m. Saturday for areas above 4,500 feet. The heaviest snowfall is expected from Friday night to 11 a.m. Saturday.
That means Rogue Valley residents can also expect more rain, with as much as one-fifth of an inch of additional moisture expected to fall on Medford, Cohen said.
More than 10 inches of snow has fallen at Crater Lake National Park over the past 24 hours, with some snow on highways 140 and 62, and on Dead Indian Memorial Road.
— Reach reporter Ryan Pfeil at 541-776-4468 or email@example.com. Follow him at www.twitter.com/ryanpfeil.