Fire near Greenway in South Medford may smolder for a few days

SOUTH MEDFORD, Ore. —  Around 6 am Tuesday morning, a large burn pile caught fire next to a little league field in South Medford.

The Medford Fire Department says it was originally reported as a burning tree near the Bear Creek Greenway.

“They found a large pile of wood, you know, just debris, blackberries and shrubs and different organic material,” said battalion chief for Medford Fire Rescue, Kip Gray.

The fire marshal says the pile was created by the parks and recreation department to prevent fires on the Greenway.

“They clean up a lot of the Greenway areas and they pile it there. It’s a hazard as things dry out,” said fire marshal, Greg Kleinberg.

Since the pile is so large, firefighters expect it to smolder for the next few days.

Until the hot spots are out, the investigation is on hold.

“A lot of times those are kind of hard to figure out, unless somebody saw somebody reaching their hand in the pile or something like that,” said Kleinberg.

The Greenway is one of the areas with the highest risk for fires in the valley.

In addition to dry fuels, particularly blackberry and cottonwood trees, the homeless who live along the path can create risk.

“We have tried over the years to reach more of those people with some cautionary messages about fire prevention – the effects have been limited to say the least,” said Brian Ballou with the Oregon Department of Forestry.

Fire season began May 1st, the earliest start in Jackson and Josephine county in several years.

All local firefighters are prepared for what could be a busy season.

Firefighters want to remind everyone fire season is in effect and burning is illegal.

If you have any information on the fire this morning, call Medford Police.

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