Goff fire heads back to Oregon

The stubborn Goff fire, while continuing to hound residents in the Klamath River drainage, turned north into the Rogue River-Siskiyou National Forest Thursday.

"In about 13 places now, the fire is coming into the Rogue River-Siskiyou," said Tom Lavagnino, a veteran firefighter who is a spokesman for the task force battling the 16,765-acre blaze. "The growth is now east and west and north.

"It's in the Red Buttes Wilderness, and will probably reburn the areas burned by the Hello and Lick fires," he added. "It's a lot drier now than it was two weeks ago."

Lavagnino was referring to the other two Fort Complex fires ignited by an Aug. 5 lightning storm. Thus far, some 18,150 acres have burned, the lion's share in the Goff fire.

The 977-acre Hello fire in the Red Buttes Wilderness is 85 percent contained while the 403-acre Lick fire in the upper Applegate River drainage south of Applegate Lake is 97 percent contained. Both of those fires are in the Rogue River-Siskiyou forest's Siskiyou Mountain Ranger District.

All three fires are burning south of the Oregon border, but a fire camp is being re-established on the Oregon side, in the upper Applegate Valley, to attack the north flank of the fire, Lavagnino said.

The Goff fire, which was only 16 percent contained, continues to burn in the Seiad Valley area where residents were cautioned early this week that they may have to evacuate.

But fire officials report that firelines on the south end of the fire are holding, although the fire had reached Highway 96 at several points.

An evacuation center has been established at Siskiyou Golden Fair Grounds in Yreka. The center will have the capability to house large and small animals as well as local residents.

Closures in the area include the Red Buttes Wilderness as well as a portion of the Pacific Crest Trail. Traffic along the highway may be periodically delayed as drivers must wait to be guided through by a pilot vehicle.

Holding the fire north of the firelines and protecting the estimated 85 homes in Seiad Valley remains the top priority, officials said.

About 650 firefighters are now fighting the Goff fire.

Reach reporter Paul Fattig at 776-4496 or email him at pfattig@mailtribune.com.

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