Golden Fire destroys dozens of homes in S. Oregon; firefighters rescue missing dog
KLAMATH COUNTY, Ore. (KPTV) - A wildfire burning in Southern Oregon has destroyed dozens of homes and other buildings since it started over the weekend.
The Golden Fire, which began on Saturday, July 22, and is burning east of Klamath Falls, near Bonanza, is estimated to be about 2,052 acres and 9% contained. The cause of the fire has not yet been determined.
Officials say they were able to start assessing damage left behind by the fire. Monday’s assessment reported 43 homes, as well as 43 outbuildings, had been destroyed. According to officials, that number will likely change as hazardous conditions improve and crews are able to safely complete assessments.
Officials say the majority of the buildings were lost during the fire’s initial run on Saturday.
“Our hearts go out to the Bonanza community and those affected by the Golden Fire,” said Matt Howard, ODF Team 2 Incident Commander. “We grieve with the community and your loss. Our goal on this fire has been, and will continue to be, to contain this fire to minimize its impact. Our job now is to fully suppress this fire so the recovery process can begin. That is our commitment to you.”
On Monday, FEMA authorized federal funds to help fight the fire. Governor Tina Kotek also invoked the emergency conflagration act to free up more resources.
Evacuations were issued for the Bonanza area. Officials say a part of the Level 3 (GO NOW) area was reduced to Level 2 (GET SET). The downgraded area follows west of Bechdoldt Flat Road, south of Racoon Lane and Jaguar Lane.
Other evacuation levels remain at:
• Level 3 (Go)- All residence east of Highway 140 between Polar Bear Lane and Jaguar Lane.
• Level 2 (Set)- Both sides of Highway 140 and Bly Mountain Cutoff Road, south of Ground Hog Lane to Keno Springs.
• Level 1 (Ready)- All residences west of 140 from Kodiak Lane to Goldfinch Drive.
In total, there are 317 homes affected in all evacuation levels. The Red Cross has opened an evacuation shelter at Bonanza School to help those affected.
While there has been plenty of destruction from the Golden Fire, there have been some stories of hope.
On Sunday, crews from Central Oregon Task Force 11 found a missing dog named Ladybird. Firefighters used the cell number on her collar to reach out to her family and reunite them.
Officials will be holding a public information meeting on Tuesday from 7 p.m. to 8 p.m. at Bonanza School. Officials will provide updates on fire status and evacuations, and that will be followed by a question and answer session.
Copyright 2023 KPTV-KPDX. All rights reserved.