The Buckskin Fire as seen from the Cave Junction Smokejumper Base at the Illinois Valley Airport.

The Buckskin Fire as seen from the Cave Junction Smokejumper Base at the Illinois Valley Airport.

Photo courtesy Jacob Welsh

A fire in Southwest Oregon near Cave Junction has grown to 2,000 acres. The fire is currently zero percent contained.

Forest officials say the Buckskin Fire was started by a lightning strike on June 11th. The fire is burning in the same terrain as the Biscuit Fire, a blaze that burned nearly 500,000 acres in 2002. The burned area contains several large, dead trees or snags, that can threaten ground crews. The Forest Service is working to suppress the fire with helicopters, engine crews, and hand crews.

Jacob Welsh is an information officer for the Buckskin Fire. He says hot, dry weather, low humidity and easterly winds allowed the blaze to grow over the weekend.

“The terrain is also influencing the fire as well,” said Welsh. “Once the fire gets established down into some of these steep drainages, fire burns a lot faster, and is a lot more active in when it burns up a hill as opposed to down a hill. The wind and the terrain were lined up and that’s why we saw a pretty significant run in the Northeast flank of the fire yesterday.”  

More than 400 firefighters are working to contain the fire. The Forest Service says no structures are currently threatened, but several forest closures are in effect.