- Associated Press - Saturday, June 13, 2015

GRANTS PASS, Ore. (AP) - The U.S. Forest Service is battling a wildfire growing in a remote part of southwestern Oregon burned by the 2002 Biscuit fire.

High temperatures and gusty winds have helped the Buckskin Fire to burn about 1,200 acres, fire spokesman Brian Lawatch said Friday night. Burning roughly 10 miles southwest of the town of Cave Junction, Lawatch said the fire is visible from the town.

Nearly 150 people are assigned to the fire, including five hotshot crews and four aircraft. Terrain that is steep and crowded with standing dead trees from the Biscuit Fire make it hazardous to fight on the ground.

The fire is believed to have been started by lightning.

Spokeswoman Virginia Gibbons said earlier the fire is burning in the Rogue River-Siskiyou National Forest. More resources are being called in.

A fire management team is taking command because of expectations that drought conditions, rugged terrain and the remote location will make this a difficult fire to contain.

“We’re preparing ourselves for a challenge,” she said.

The lightning-sparked Biscuit fire grew to half a million acres - 781 square miles - making it the nation’s biggest in 2002. The early days of fighting it were marked by difficulty assembling resources, because so many other fires were burning around the country.

This is the fourth year of drought for southern Oregon, and the latest National Significant Wildland Fire Potential Outlook report from the National Interagency Fire Center says fire potential is expected to be normal in the Northwest during June, but will increase to above normal in July, August and September.

“The focus of above-normal fire activity during the core of fire season will likely be in the Northwest,” the report said.

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