Gopher Fire: Damp and cool weather allow for moderate fire behavior

Gopher Fire is now 340 acres burning 11 miles east of Prospect, Ore. in the Sky Lakes Wilderness.(Inciweb)

Gopher Fire is now 340 acres burning 11 miles east of Prospect, Ore. in the Sky Lakes Wilderness.(Inciweb)

Located in the Sky Lakes Wilderness, approximately 11 miles east of Prospect, the Gopher Fire is currently 340 acres and is the result of 5 small fires that burned together after the lightning storm that moved through the area September 5th.

The fire is burning within the perimeter of the 2008 Middle Fork Fire.

“These cool and moist conditions are giving us the time we need to prepare our fire lines and when the warmer and dryer weather returns in the coming weeks,” said Incident Commander, Aaron Schuh, during the morning briefing.

Firefighters continue to improve access to the fire by opening old roads outside of the wilderness. Hazard trees, primarily snags, are being felled where needed. Operations staff are scouting for an optimum containment strategy on the south end of the fire in the steep Middle Fork drainage. Snags from previous fires continue to be the main hazard for firefighters.

Higher humidity will help keep spread rates low and most of the active fire will be limited to the heavy fuels which are prevalent due to the 2008 Middle Fork Fire. Cool wet weather will continue over the fire for the next several days with possible thunderstorms Tuesday afternoon, then a warming and drying trend returns Wednesday.

Resources on the fire currently include: 12 – 20-person hand crews, 4 - Type 1 helicopters, 1 - Type 2 helicopter and 1 -Type 3 helicopter, 1 dozer. A total of 289 personnel are assigned to the fire.

Area Closures
To provide for public and firefighter safety, several trails and roads leading to the fire area have been closed pending an official closure order.

The following roads are closed:

  • National Forest Roads:

    • 3795-300

    • 3795-500

    • 3790

    • 3790-200

    • 3785

The following trails or segments of trails are closed:

  • Trail No. 979 east from the Middle Fork Trailhead to its intersection with Trail 980

  • Trail No. 980

  • Trail No. 1084 from the Tom and Jerry Trailhead east to 1084's intersection with Trail No. 1085

  • Trail No. 1085

  • Trail No. 1089 from its intersection with Trail No. 1085 south to its intersection with the Pacific Crest Trail.


Continue indirect line construction. Scout for opportunities to go direct. Rollout expected overnight with small growth anticipated.

Weather concerns
Cooler, moist, showery weather will continue over the fire Monday as an upper level system moves over the area. Rainfall is not expected to be heavy overall, but if a shower persists, rain could come down briefly heavily. Conditions will improve by afternoon, but showers remain possible into the evening. Winds gusts to 12 mph will be possible in west-east aligned drainages and other exposed areas.

Gopher Fire Details

Cause: Lightning

Size: 340 acres

Containment: n/a

Sky Lakes Wilderness
Klamath-Jackson County Line

Medium logging slash

289 Personnel
12 Hand Crews
4 Type 1 Helicopters
1 Type 2 Helicopter
1 Dozer

Klamath Falls News coverage of the 2019 Wildfire Season is brought to you by Ace Towing and Turn Thom Point S.