Despite hot, dry conditions, wildland fire crews wrangled 18 percent containment in the Garner Complex, which reached 19,944 acres Wednesday, fire officials said.

The complex declared a conflagration by the governor last week comprises fires started by lightning on July 15 in northwest Jackson County and portions of Josephine and Douglas counties. It had grown by 2,575 acres in the past 24 hours, but some of that was intentional, according to a release issued by the Incident Fire Management team.

Fires set within control lines to clear out fuels before they can threaten structures will create smoke and flames visible at night, the team said. Control lines are holding in a remote area of northwestern Jackson County, allowing reduced evacuation levels for addresses on the Graves Creek Road north of Ditch Creek. They were downgraded from Level 3 “Go” to Level 2 “Be Set” Wednesday afternoon, according to the Jackson County Sheriff’s Office.

Crews are battling “near-critical” hot and dry fire conditions with slope-driven winds traveling between 5 and 10 mph in the afternoons, according to an Inciweb update. Smoke is anticipated to dissipate near the fire in the next day, bringing hotter temperatures and a chance of thunderstorms.

As of Wednesday afternoon, 2,432 personnel are working the fire, including 74 hand crews, 112 engines, 35 dozers, 47 water tenders, 27 aircraft and 9 structure task forces. No structures have been damaged in the fire, although 1,336 remain threatened. An emergency shelter remains open at Grants Pass High School, and has served more than 300 meals to people evacuated in the wildfire, according to an American Red Cross release midday Wednesday.

From the Mail Tribune: http://mailtribune.com/news/top-stories/garner-complex-fires-near-20000-acres