Grass fire east of Eagle Point nearly contained

The 100-acre Worthington fire east of Eagle Point was three-quarters contained by 9 p.m. Saturday and firefighters were hopeful to have it fully contained by today.

The fire began about 1:30 p.m. at the intersection of Worthington Road and a Bureau of Land Management road about two miles east of Eagle Point and two miles northeast of Brownsboro.

The fire moved quickly north through brush and oak and then into heavier fuel areas of ponderosa pine and oak, Oregon Department of Forestry spokesman Brian Ballou said.

Late afternoon wind gusts expanded the scope of the fire before calming toward evening.

"There was a 30-acre jump somewhere around 6 o'clock, but it's calmed down since then," Ballou said.

More than 50 firefighters are attempting to contain the blaze along with nine engines, two bulldozers, water tenders and a medium-lift helicopter that alternated dropping water and scouting hot spots.

"The lower end is pretty well burned out, but the upper end, on the north side, is fairly active," Ballou said.

Fire crews were expected to continue fighting the fire overnight.

"They've got a lot of work ahead of them," Ballou said of the night crew. "Down low, it's primarily grass, brush and oak trees. But up higher there's ponderosa pines mixed with oak. There is more debris, fallen trees and branches up there, so it's burning hotter."

The terrain is not real steep, aiding firefighting efforts. "It's not terribly bad country to be fighting fire in," he said. "It looks like we won't get any more real wind.

He said investigators had yet to determine the cause.

It is the largest fire in Jackson County this season.

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