Two fires on the Bear Creek Greenway in one week

Medford, Ore. — There have been two greenway fires in one week.

Both set less than a mile apart in hot, dry conditions.

“This is the hottest part of the summer, everything out there is extremely dry. It doesn’t take much to get a fire started, and once it starts… It could just take off,” Lieutenant Mike Budreau with Medford Police said.

The first happened Monday behind AAA R-V on Biddle Road.

Then on Thursday, fire crews got a report of smoke on the greenway near exit 30.

“It’s concerning that the most recent one… We know for certain is arson because it was set in four different places based on a witness that was nearby that saw it right in the initial stage as it was starting to take off,” Lt. Budreau said.

Lieutenant Mike Budreau with Medford Police says arson is a crime where very little evidence is left behind, making it difficult to pinpoint a suspect.

He says there will most likely be more fires if the person responsible isn’t caught.

“Arson activity is a very difficult crime to figure out because the motive is really internal. There’s no obvious benefit there besides gratification to the person for reasons in their head,” Lt. Budreau said.

Lieutenant Budreau says it’s very unlikely the fire on Thursday was started by a transient, as a few consider it a place to live.

Medford Police will be increasing patrols in the area, and ask anyone using the bike path to be good witnesses in case another fire breaks out.

“Those moments where we first see the smoke… That’s the critical time where people need to start paying attention — who’s around, who’s coming and going — and that could be the key to solving the case,” Lt. Budreau said.

If you see a fire on the greenway, Lieutenant Budreau suggests taking out a phone right away to snap photos and video footage.

That will help police with their investigation and could help them identify a suspect.

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