Wednesday's fires all small

At least a half dozen wildfires were sparked by Wednesday night's lightning in Jackson and Josephine counties.

Oregon Department of Forestry crews responded to three fires on state-protected land in the Applegate Valley. Two were out, with a third being mopped up this morning.

The largest was a half-acre fire on Negro Ben Mountain. Fires covering less than a quarter of an acre burned along Upper Applegate Road and in the Mulligan Gulch area near Squaw Lakes.

Several others small fires were also reported on the Rogue River-Siskiyou National Forest, including one in the Thompson Creek drainage. State firefighting crews provided mutual-aid assistance in fighting those fires.

Wednesday's thunderstorm sent 65 strikes streaking down on the ODF's Southwest Oregon District over the two counties, according to district spokesman Brian Ballou.

More wildfires may be found in coming days as "smokes" are spotted drifting up from remote areas where lightning-caused fires are smoldering, Ballou said.

And with another thunderstorm expected to rumble through the area this afternoon and evening, more lightning-caused fires are expected, he added.

— Paul Fattig

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