HWY 140 back open after 100-acre grass fire

Update: Investigators believe a 14-year-old girl lighting fireworks started the Atlantic Avenue Fire. Details: https://bit.ly/2ubkeMq

White City, Ore. — The Oregon Department of Transportation reopened Highway 140 early Thursday evening in White City after closing it due to an afternoon grass fire. ODOT said multiple structures were on fire as the flames spread.

The fire closed the highway at milepost 3, shortly before 5 pm, as travelers were already dealing with Interstate 5’s closure south of Ashland due to the growing Klamathon fire near Hornbrook, California. It reopened roughly an hour later after the fire was extinguished.

Oregon Department of Forestry says it’s estimated to be about 100 acres in size. There’s no word on what caused it, but fire investigators are on scene.

Residents say flames about six to ten feet tall is all they saw coming down Atlantic Avenue towards their homes.

They say it was a community effort to put the fire out, neighbors stepped in to make sure animals were let out and homes were protected.

Fire teams arrived quickly to help fight the flames, but the fire spread rapidly. Officials say the residents were a vital part in helping to slow the growth.

“When you have something like this that is a mix of wildland grass- brush, homes- structures, everything… everyone is going to want to do everything they can to not just help themselves, but also help their neighbor and their community,” Oregon Department of Forestry Public Information Officer, Melissa Cano said. “So everyone was in there helping everybody, and, together, I think that’s what made a really good collaboration to stop the fire’s forward rate of spread.”

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