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Andy Atkinson / Mail Tribune

Passersby survey damage from a fire that burned Monday along the Bear Creek Greenway between I-5 and Biddle Road in north Medford.

Fast-moving wildfire burns about 10 acres off Greenway


A grass fire that roared to life just off a stretch of Bear Creek near Interstate 5 brought fire trucks from three departments to the scene and forced a temporary closure of part of the freeway Monday afternoon.

Units from Medford Fire-Rescue, Jackson County Fire District No. 3 and the Oregon Department of Forestry responded to the blaze at 12:50 p.m., according to Medford Fire-Rescue Battalion Chief Justin Keylock.

The fire was about a quarter-acre in size, then surged because of wind, ODF public information officer Melissa Cano said.

The fire broke out just off the Bear Creek Greenway behind multiple RV and automobile dealerships, including Crater Lake Ford. Its location made it a challenge to reach, fire officials said, with some crews having to access it by traveling to the Pilot gas station in Central Point, and then approaching it on the Bear Creek Greenway.

“It’s tough to get in there. The bike path will only fit our smaller brush rigs,” said Keylock. “We hit it from every access point we could.”

The first crews on scene called for a second alarm. The Oregon Department of Transportation closed the northbound slow lane of I-5 during the initial attack. Some RVs at AAA RV had to be moved to prevent damage from flames, Keylock said.

In all, 10 vehicles from Medford Fire-Rescue and Fire District 3 responded, with several wildland units from the Oregon Department of Forestry.

Lack of hydrants meant responders had to utilize water tenders. Crews had a majority of the blaze knocked down within 45 minutes, according to Medford Fire Chief Brian Fish. The fire scorched nearly 10 acres by the time crews had it contained.

No one was injured and no structures were damaged. The cause is under investigation.

Reach web editor Ryan Pfeil at rpfeil@rosebudmedia.com or at 541-776-4468.

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