Fire escapes control, burns five acres of Ashland ranch

A controlled burn on private property in northwest Ashland got out of control Monday afternoon and burned five acres of blackberries.

Firefighters from Jackson County Fire District Five and Ashland Fire and Rescue contained the fire on the Billings Farm, but did not attempt to put it out, said District Five Division Chief Darin Welburn.

"It all was on their property," he said. "Probably for them it did more good than bad, as far as removing the blackberries, it was probably a good thing in the long run."

Dry blackberry bushes can pose a bigger threat to large fires later in the season, he said.

Mary Billings, who started the fire several hours before it got out of control, said she believed the fire improved the land. Although she still plans to do more controlled burning this season, she will only do it on rock piles, far away from concentrated brush, she said.

"When it first got out of control I thought, 'Well maybe we can still get to this.' I was pouring water on the edges of it, and I thought maybe I could get it under control," she said. "Once that wind got it, it went into tall grass that was real thick, heavy grass, and there was no controlling it then."

District five responds to several of these types of fires every season, Welburn said.

Staff writer can be reached at 482-3456 ext. 227 or .

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