Oregon Gulch fire 11,000 acres and growing

The Oregon Gulch fire has grown to 11,000 acres and is moving south toward Copco Lake in California and east toward Grizzly Mountain on the Jackson/Klamath county line, according to an Oregon Department of Forestry spokesman.

"It's probably going to get rolling this afternoon like it did yesterday," said Don Hickman, spokesman for ODF's incident team on the Oregon Gulch fire.

Link Smith of ODF said that an inversion sitting over the fire is slowing its advance, but firefighters are worried there will be a repeat of Thursday's explosive behavior, when the fire grew by 1,000 acres an hour in gusty winds. Embers were starting fires as far as a mile away.

"You can't put anybody in front of that," Smith said. "All you can do is get out of its way and pick up the pieces."

The fire isn't burning in steep terrain, but the combination of extremely dry fuel, hot temperatures and wind is firefighters' biggest headache.

Fire officials had not yet confirmed what structures might have been burned in the fire, which started with a lightning strike Wednesday evening. It was discovered at 10 acres at about 10 a.m. Thursday morning. There have been no reports of injuries.

— Mark Freeman

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