A short but strong windstorm Friday morning pushed flames from a controlled burn towards a structure on upper Tolman Creek Road, but the fire was quickly contained.
Ashland Fire & Rescue Forestry Division Chief Chris Chambers said crews stopped burning Thursday due to the forecast wind, but that didn’t stop the 40 mph wind from igniting hot embers left from a Wednesday fire.
“The flames weren’t particularly big, they were just moving fast,” Chambers said.
He said Lomakatsi fire crews were patrolling the area on private property where the embers were when the fire started.
The crews rallied 20 Lomakatsi workers to dig a fire line protecting the house and to fight the fire. Firefighters from Ashland Fire and Rescue and county Fire District 5 took over with hoses to extinguish the fire.
The home was not damaged.
Chambers said the fire only burned a few acres, and that there was more smoke than fire.
“It’s going to happen from time to time,” Chambers said. “We had a lot of areas in the watershed burning in the last week. There were many burn piles that had been burned out there and this was the only one that caused an issue.”
Chambers said the homeowner, who is different from the property owner, had conducted many controlled burns on the property in the past and understood.
“He was just really appreciative of all the firefighters that showed up,” Chambers said.
The wind also caused a circuit to go out in a transformer in the South Mountain Avenue area around 8:20 a.m. Many buildings stretching from the South Mountain area to across Siskiyou Boulevard, including Southern Oregon University, were without power for about an hour.
Interim Electric Director Tom McBartlett said the wind caught a loose piece of hardware and caused the circuit to go out, but staff switched to a different circuit temporarily, so it could be fixed. He didn’t have a count of how many accounts lost power.