Highway 62 traffic is snarled this evening from a power outage that knocked out many traffic lights in the Medford area, witnesses say.

The outage comes as firefighters used attack crews and a retardant-dropping air tanker to battle a new wildfire that saw flames dart 20 feet high as it spread through an estimated 50 acres of manzanita and grass near Shady Cove, according to emergency services reports.

That fire has closed Rogue River Drive between Shady Cove and Highway 234.

The cause of the fire was not immediately known, but it sprang up right after a series of lightning strikes peppered the region and heavy rain pounded places such as East Medford and Ashland.

Oregon Department of Forestry crews were chasing reports of post-lightning smoke everywhere from Sterling Creek, Wagner Creek, Roxy Ann Peak, China Gulch near Jacksonville and the area around Ashland’s Reeder Reservoir.

-- Mark Freeman