Crews have made “excellent progress” in battling a pair of blazes that erupted on the outskirts of Medford and Ashland on Monday and a team of firefighters who came from across the state to help protect buildings is headed home.

The State Fire Marshal's red team will be released at noon, leaving local fire departments to protect homes at the fire's perimeter.

Fire line protected with hoses now encircle both the Siskiyou fire near Ashland and the Deer Ridge fire near Medford and the only fire activity is deep in the interior of the burned areas, Oregon Department of Forestry spokesman Brian Ballou said.

ODF crews, contractors and inmate crews are extinguishing hot spots. Smoke will continue to be visible from some of them in the coming days.

Both fires should be contained by Thursday evening.

“Crews feel like they are ahead of schedule,” Ballou said.

He said no injuries worse than the occasional bee sting, blister or turned ankle had been reported.

An investigation into the causes of the fires is continuing.

— Anita Burke