Video shows large number of structures burned during the Almeda Drive Fire in southern Oregon

It impacted the cities of Talent and Phoenix, September 8, 2020

structures burned Almeda Fire Phoenix Talent Oregon
Devastation from the Almeda Drive Fire in the area of Phoenix and Talent in southern Oregon. Screenshot from video shot by Jackson County on September 8, 2020.

The latest official estimate of the number of structures destroyed in the Almeda Drive Fire in southern Oregon on September 8 is 600 homes and 100 commercial buildings. A video appears to indicate that number is conservative.

Authorities have confirmed two deaths. Since lightning and power lines can be ruled out, they have concluded it was human-caused. It is possible the number of fatalities could rise as searches are conducted. It was weeks before searches were concluded after the Camp Fire at Paradise, California. There will be lists of people that are unaccounted for, but many of them will be safe and having difficulty communicating with family and friends.

map Almeda Drive Fire
Map of the Almeda Drive Fire

The Oregonian reports officials are considering arson as a possible cause:

Authorities are investigating the Almeda fire as an arson after discovering human remains in Ashland, the city police chief said. The Jackson County’s Major Assault/Death Investigation Unit is investigating the nature of the death of the person found, according to Ashland Police Chief Tighe O’Meara.

“One thing I can say is that the rumor it was set by Antifa is 100% false information,” the police chief said by email. “We have some leads, and none of it points in that direction.”

structures burned Almeda Drive Fire Phoenix Talent Oregon
Devastation from the Almeda Drive Fire in the area of Phoenix and Talent in southern Oregon. Screenshot from video shot by Jackson County on September 8, 2020.

The FBI is asking the public to not waste the time of law enforcement with conspiracy theories and misinformation.

FBI information fires Oregon

To have been so destructive, it is a little surprising that the fire only burned 3,200 acres. The 40 to 45 mph wind on September 8 was from the southeast, which aligned with the Interstate 5 corridor as it burned like a blowtorch for 8 miles, starting north of Ashland and tearing through the cities of Talent and Phoenix. Photos of what remains of the area show retardant drops made by air tankers, a DC-10 and two MD-87s, but they were largely ineffective. This is no surprise, since a wind stronger than 15 or 20 mph can scatter the retardant off target, or if the wind is stronger and turbulent it can be unsafe to operate an aircraft flying low and slow.

The video shot by Jackson County authorities on September 8 is below. It begins near Ashland, then continues up the Interstate 5 corridor through Talent and Phoenix.

Below are more screenshots from the video.

Continue reading “Video shows large number of structures burned during the Almeda Drive Fire in southern Oregon”

Glendower Fire (aka Almeda Fire) burns toward Medford, Oregon

Multiple structures have burned

Updated September 9, 2020 | 9:04 a.m. PDT

Map Almeda Drive and South Obenchain Fires
Map of the Almeda Drive and South Obenchain Fires at 4:14 a.m. PDT Sept 9, 2020.

A second fire in the Medford, Oregon area, the South Obenchain Fire north of the city, is prompting evacuations in the Shady Cove and Eagle Point areas. Evacuation maps are HERE.


September 9, 2020 | 8:33 a.m. PDT

Map of the Almeda Drive Fire
Map of the Almeda Drive Fire (Glendower Fire) at 4:14 a.m. PDT Sept. 9, 2020. The icons represent heat detected by satellites.

Here is an updated map of the Almeda Drive Fire (previously known as Glendower) showing heat detected by satellites at 4:14 a.m. PDT September 9, 2020. There has been much confusion about the name of the fire, but we have information from a fire official that the correct name is Almeda Drive.

The blaze started north of Ashland late Tuesday morning and roughly followed the Interstate 5 corridor as strong winds pushed it northwest. It burned through parts of Talent and by 4:14 a.m. Wednesday was at Phoenix.

Oregon Governor Kate Brown declared the Almeda Drive Fire a conflagration, a large fire which destroys a great deal of land or property. This will allow the state to send resources to assist local agencies.

At about 12:15 Wednesday morning the Oregon Department of Forestry estimated the blaze had burned 2,500 to 3,000 acres.

The Oregon State Fire Marshal incident management team arrived on scene at 1:50 a.m. Wednesday.

Evacuations are in effect for parts of Jackson County and the Medford area. Jackson County and MedfordAlert have evacuation information.


September 8, 2020  |  10:10 p.m. PDT

map Glendower Fire
The icons represent heat detected on the Glendower Fire by satellites at 3:08 p.m. PDT September 8, 2020.

The Glendower Fire started north of Ashland, Oregon Tuesday morning then spread northwest along the Interstate 5 corridor (see the map above). At 5 p.m. it prompted evacuations of the entire city of Phoenix, Oregon. The incident is also known as the Almeda Fire.

By 8:45 p.m. evacuations were ordered in areas of Medford and multiple structures had burned. Jackson County and MedfordAlert have evacuation information. MedfordAlert said at 9:56 p.m. an evacuation center has been established at the Josephine County Fairgrounds on Redwood Avenue in Grants Pass. The Jackson County Expo is full.

Tuesday evening sections of Interstate 5 were closed north of the California/Oregon border. TripCheck has current status of the Interstate.

A Red Flag Warning is in effect for the Medford area Tuesday night and Wednesday. The wind direction in Medford will be variable Tuesday night at 3 to 5 mph with the humidity in the teens. On Wednesday the wind will increase at 11 a.m. from the southeast at 15 mph gusting to 23 while the humidity decreases to 7 percent. Wednesday’s high temperature will be 100.

Strong winds spread numerous wildfires in Oregon and Washington

An unprecedented number of fires and acres have burned in recent days

September 8, 2020 | 9:23 p.m. PDT

satellite photo fires smoke Washington, Oregon, and California
GOES-17 photo of smoke from wildfires in Washington, Oregon, and California at 5:56 p.m. PDT Sept. 8, 2020.

The number of wildfires and acres burning in Washington and Oregon are reaching a level that is close to unprecedented in recent memory.

Tuesday afternoon the western one-quarter of Oregon was inundated with dense smoke from multiple fires south of Portland and mostly east of Interstate 5. Strong winds are turning small fires that were ignited weeks ago in Marion County, Oregon into major incidents as law enforcement officers and firefighters try to stay ahead of the fires evacuating residents in their paths.

map wildfires in Washington and Oregon
Map showing heat detected by satellites on wildfires in Washington and Oregon at 4:18 p.m. PDT September 8, 2020.

Thousands of Oregonians were under evacuation orders Tuesday. OPG.org reported that officials said they were so focused on protecting lives and property that suppressing the blazes consuming hundreds of thousands of acres would have to wait. “Our number one priority is evacuation and basic life safety,” said Mariana Ruiz-Temple, chief deputy state fire marshal. “This wind event does not give us the opportunity to really get in there and fight fire how we might fight fire in previous events.”

The Glendower Fire started north of Ashland, Oregon then spread northwest along the Interstate 5 corridor into Medford. Much of the city is under evacuation orders and multiple structures have burned. (More information about the Glendower Fire, including a map.)

Glendowner Fire Oregon Medford
Tweet at 7:04 p.m. PDT Sept 8, 2020.

Strong winds accompanying a cold front was the primary force responsible for the rapid spread of the fires, but some of the driest conditions seen in decades led to low moisture content in vegetation that made large quantities of fuel available to quickly ignite.

map wildfires in northwest Oregon
Map showing heat detected by satellites on wildfires in northwest Oregon, south of Portland at 4:18 p.m. PDT September 8, 2020.

The New York Times reported the National Weather Service on Tuesday placed Northwest and southwestern Oregon under an extreme fire danger warning, the first time southern Oregon has been the subject of such a warning, according to the Oregon Climate Office. The Oregon Department of Corrections evacuated 1,450 inmates from three prisons east of Salem.

The New York Times:

Gov. Jay Inslee of Washington said on Tuesday that an estimated 330,000 acres had burned across the state on Monday, more than what burned in each of the last 12 fire seasons. “The devastation is all over our state,” Mr. Inslee said in a news briefing.

One of the smaller fires in Washington, relatively speaking,  wiped out about 80 percent of the structures in Malden, a town of 200 people south of Spokane. Officials said the buildings that burned included the fire station, post office, city hall, and the library.

Three of the largest blazes in Washington are Cold Springs south of Omak (163,000 acres), Pearl Hill east of Brewster (174,000 acres), and Evans Canyon north of Yakima (75,817 acres). The Pearl Hill fire reportedly burned 170,000 acres within 24 hours.

map fires Washington
Map showing heat detected by satellites on wildfires in Washington at 4:18 p.m. PDT September 8, 2020.