Almeda Fire still active

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JACKSON COUNTY, Ore. – Crews are still fighting a fire that started in the City of Ashland, burned through Talent, Phoenix, and into parts of Medford.

The Almeda Fire, colloquially referred to as the Glendower Fire, started Tuesday in a north Ashland neighborhood near the Ashland ponds and dog park. It quickly spread, due in part to high winds, northward up the Bear Creek Greenway, destroying homes and structures in Talent, Phoenix, and parts of south Medford before winds finally calmed in the late evening, causing the fire to slowly expand north and northwest toward Culver Road. The City of Ashland remained largely unaffected.

There were long closures of Interstate 5 between the Oregon-California border and Central Point before the freeway was reopened intermittently.

As the harsh flames and black smoke retreated to a glow into the early morning hours of Wednesday, the damage was still being done. The fire continued to burn numerous structures throughout the night as crews fought the blaze from the ground without air support.

When daylight hit, helicopters and planes arrived to help, bolstering lines with retardant and water to help stop the spread of the Almeda Fire as winds began to strengthen.

As of 10:30 a.m. Wednesday, traffic was moving again on Interstate 5, though intermittent closures should be expected due to retardant drops and other firefighting operations.

By 11:00 a.m., the Level 3 evacuation notice issued for parts of

Highway 99 was still closed from south Medford to Ashland.

Local firefighters have remained busy assisting with evacuations and protecting structures. Their efforts have not yet shifted to detailed damage assessment, while homes and lives still remain in the balance. However, more information may be released soon.

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