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MailTribune.com
  • Medford fire chars 600 acres

    Officials are concerned that hot and windy conditions today could fuel fire further
  • Just as Gov. Ted Kulongoski was ordering state resources to help bring an Ashland fire under control, a fire began sweeping up East Medford's Roxy Ann Peak and causing evacuations, power outages, road closures and snarled traffic.
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  • Just as Gov. Ted Kulongoski was ordering state resources to help bring an Ashland fire under control, a fire began sweeping up East Medford's Roxy Ann Peak and causing evacuations, power outages, road closures and snarled traffic.
    The wind-swept Deer Ridge fire in Medford had mushroomed to 600 acres by Monday night. Retardant-laden air tankers and helicopters swinging buckets of water managed to spare residential areas in the path of the fire. By 9 p.m. Monday, most of the evacuations of more than 100 households had been lifted. There were no known injuries, and the fire touched no homes, Medford fire officials said.
    Winds had died down considerably by Monday night, and bulldozers were moving in for an overnight shift to try to establish stronger fire lines to try to contain the blaze, said Brian Ballou, a spokesman for the Oregon Department of Forestry.
    "The wind has died down, and that's to our advantage," Ballou said.
    Residents in Vista Point reported the fire just before 2:30 p.m. Monday in a grassy areanear their houses. Flames whipped by 20-to-30-mph winds leaped to heights of 30 to 40 feetand came as close as 100 feet from half a dozenhomes, said Medford Fire Chief David Bierwiler.
    Some of the fire crews, air tankers and helicopters that were dispatched to the 100-acre Ashland fire Monday morning quickly were diverted to the fast-moving Medford fire by the afternoon. A few hours after ordering help for the Ashland fire, the governor dittoed the order for state resources for the large fire on Roxy Ann.
    "Ironically, having a four-alarm fire in Ashland helped us enormously," Bierwiler said. Crews already were deployed and could swiftly respond to the Medford fire, he said.
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