Mowed grass prevents another Oak Knoll-like tragedy in Ashland

ASHLAND, Ore.– Firefighters said a fire in Ashland yesterday could have been much worse if the grass wasn’t mowed.

The agency even compared it to 2010’s Oak Knoll fire and said the incidents could have been similar.

The fire started near I-5 around 4:30 Monday, but because the grass was kept short firefighters were able to put it out before the fire grew to an acre.

Ashland has had an ordinance in place for decades that requires residents to keep their grass shorter than four inches.

The 2010 Oak Knoll fire happened just outside of Ashland city limits, where the ordinance is not enforced.

That fire destroyed 11 homes and damaged two.

Yesterday’s fire happened close to the Oak Knoll area, but firefighters say the ordinance made a huge difference in the end result.

Ashland Fire and Rescue Wildfire Division Chief Chris Chambers said, “with the fire starting in a lot that was mowed to the ground, where firefighters are able to quickly get on top of it. Same response time as it was in 2010, same number of fire engines, but a lot different outcome.”

The business next to the lot where the fire happened was not damaged.

Chief Chambers said aggressive enforcement of the ordinance has helped firefighters tremendously, especially on hot and dry days like yesterday.

He said Ashland Fire and Rescue even has a weed abatement coordinator working to make sure everyone complies with the ordinance.

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Former NBC5 News reporter Derek Strom is from Renton, Washington. He recently graduated from the Edward R. Murrow College of Communications at Washington State University with a degree in Broadcast News and a minor in Sports Management. He played in the drumline with the WSU marching band. These days, he plays the guitar and piano. Derek is a devoted fan of the Mariners, Seahawks, and Kraken.
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