Mop-up continues on fires

Fire crews continue to search out and squelch hot spots in the acreage charred by two wildfires on the edges of Medford and Ashland this week.

Both the Deer Ridge fire in east Medford and the Siskiyou fire south of Ashland should be contained today, estimated Oregon Department of Forestry spokesman Brian Ballou.

Investigators haven't determined the cause of either fire in the South County complex. They have asked for help from anyone who saw the Medford fire's earliest stages.

The forestry department has a toll-free tip line at 877-888-7343 to collect details from the public. All information is kept confidential.

Ballou said he didn't know if any valuable tips had come in yet.

"It's going quite well," he said of the battle against the blazes, which had for a time threatened about 500 homes and businesses.

"From the edge, it's hard to even see any smoke," Ballou said after visiting the Deer Ridge fire this morning.

He said crews had found smoldering patches deep in the interior of the burned area overnight and expected to see more smoke as temperatures rise this afternoon.

Smoke filling the valley today has blown in from fires on the Umpqua National Forest near Tiller, Ballou said.

"That's where our wind is coming from, out of the north-northwest," he said.

The Boze and Rainbow Creek fires have burned 10,792 acres in remote rugged terrain since lightning started them Sept. 12 and 13,, a Web site that provides forest fire information, reported this morning.

— Anita Burke

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