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Greenway fire sends smoke plume over Medford

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A large slash pile caught fire Tuesday morning in south Medford, putting off a large column of smoke that was visible from miles away.

The pile, the result of recent brush clearing work along the Bear Creek Greenway, was near the Medford Little League baseball fields. The slash pile was estimated to be about 20 feet high, 60 feet wide and 150 feet long, fire officials said.

Emergency dispatch began receiving calls about the fire at 6:18 a.m., and multiple Medford engines responded to the scene.

Fire officials also called on Medford Public Works to bring in a track hoe to aid with suppressing the fire.

“They actually cut a fuel break in the pile to keep it from spreading any farther,” said Medford Fire-Rescue Battalion Chief Kip Gray. “They also brought a water tender out to help us.”

Multiple water tenders and a fire engine poured water on the flames as a large column of gray and white smoke filled the air.

“Because of the size of it, it’s going to burn and smolder for, I anticipate, days,” Gray said. “It’s going to be a pretty long process.”

When the pile is cooled enough, the department will use the track hoe to pull the slash pile apart. No structures were threatened, and multiple wildland units remained at the scene Tuesday afternoon on standby.

The cause of the fire was undetermined.

Andy Atkinson / Mail TribuneMedford fire controls a fire that sparked behind the South Medford little league fields near Bear Creek Tuesday morning.
A large slash pile off the Bear Creek Greenway near the little league fields put up a large column of smoke over Medford Tuesday morning. (Photo by Ryan Pfeil, Mail Tribune)