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Monday a 'challenging' day for Klamathon fire

Fickle winds and difficult terrain could spell a taxing day for crews battling the Klamathon fire on the Oregon side of the blaze.

Winds that have been blowing from the north could be more variable this afternoon, though winds from the north are expected to increase later this evening, according to the National Weather Service. The main challenge will be on the fire's northeastern flank, where steep and rugged terrain could make it tough for crews to slow the spread of flames.

The blaze saw minimal growth Sunday night, and was estimated at 35,250 acres Monday morning. The blaze is considered 30 percent contained.

"Today's going to be a challenging Oregon-side day," Cano said. A strong fireline stretches from an area near Interstate 5 over to Pilot Rock. Farther east, it's more complicated.

"It's getting into some pretty rugged terrain," said Gabe Lauderdale, Klamathon fire public information officer. "That always creates a difficulty in getting firefighting equipment into those areas."

Several areas in Jackson County remain under a level 3 — "go" — evacuation notice, including the Colestin Road area from the Oregon-California border to the Mount Ashland Ski Road and Highway 99 from the border to Mount Ashland Ski Road. An area east of I-5 is also under a level 3 advisory, covering public lands and private properties from the Jackson-Klamath county line, north of the Oregon-California border and south of a line that extends from the intersection of I-5 and the Mount Ashland Ski Road east to the Jackson-Klamath county line.

There is no threat to the city of Ashland, according to the city website.

Old Highway 99 to just below Callahan's Lodge and the Mount Ashland Ski Road from Mount Ashland down to Highway 99 remain under a level 2 — "be set" — evacuation notice. An area east of I-5 covering BLM lands west of the Jackson-Klamath county line, north of the line that extends from the intersection of I-5 and the Mount Ashland Ski Road due east to the Jackson-Klamath county line, north to Highway 66, is under a level 2 advisory, as well.

ODF officials have expanded the closure on BLM lands outside Ashland. The closure area now covers all Medford District lands south of Highway 66 and west of Copco Road. That includes Emigrant Creek Road, Baldy Creek Road, Soda Mountain Road, Pilot Rock Road, Mill Creek Road, the Lone Pilot Trail, and the Pacific Crest Trail from Highway 66 west to the boundary of the Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument, according to a news release. All BLM lands and roads in the monument's portion of the closure area are closed, too.

On the California side, evacuation orders remain in place for Hilt, Hornbrook and Irongate Reservoir. To date, the blaze has destroyed 81 structures, and 810 others remain threatened, according to a news release from the California Department of Forestry & Fire Protection.

Reach web editor Ryan Pfeil at rpfeil@rosebudmedia.com or at 541-776-4468.

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