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Rogue Valley fire crews scramble as multiple Monday fires pop up

A garage fire and two grass fires broke out within a half hour of each other Monday afternoon, with one causing significant freeway traffic backup between Phoenix and Medford.

No injuries were reported in any of the fires.

The first fire — a structure fire in the 400 block of Merlee Circle in Eagle Point —was reported at 2:04 p.m., according to dispatch records. That fire was originally reported as a vehicle fire, but crews arriving found a duplex garage ablaze, according to Jackson County Fire District 3 public information officer Ashley Blakely.

Three engines from Fire District 3 responded, with an additional engine from Medford Fire-Rescue. Crews had the fire knocked down by 2:17 p.m.

"They were able to keep the flames contained to the garage," Blakely said, adding there is still heavy smoke damage to the duplex unit closest to the garage, with light smoke damage to the other. The cause is under investigation.

Minutes later at about 2:20 p.m., a small grass fire was reported just off Interstate 5 between Phoenix and Medford. Medford Fire-Rescue responded to this fire, which turned out to be about one-tenth of an acre in size, according to firefighter-paramedic Eric Zurita.

The likely origin appears to be a cigarette butt thrown out of a vehicle, Zurita said. Two engines from Medford Fire-Rescue responded.

"We were there maybe 15 minutes start to finish," Zurita said.

During firefighting efforts, the northbound slow lane of I-5 was closed, causing a temporary traffic backup that extended to about Phoenix. All lanes reopened about 2:44 p.m., according to the Oregon Department of Transportation.

Another grass fire popped up at 2:30 p.m. near Dodge Bridge, according to Fire District 3 officials. The fire was reported in the 3700 block of Dodge Road, drawing a response from the Oregon Department of Forestry, Jackson County Fire District 4 and Jackson County Fire District 3, Blakely said.

The 1 1/2-acre fire stemmed from an out-of-control burn pile. Crews had it out after about 12 minutes, Blakely said.

You can reach reporter Ryan Pfeil at rpfeil@rosebudmedia.com or 541-776-4468.

A structure fire caused heavy damage to an Eagle Point house. (Photo courtesy of Ashley Blakely, Jackson County Fire District 3)
A grass fire grew to nearly two acres off Dodge Road after a burn pile got out of control. (Photo courtesy of Ashley Blakely, Jackson County Fire District 3){ }