Two Ashland fires still under investigation

ASHLAND, Ore.– Two fires started near Lithia Park in Ashland Thursday afternoon.

Both fires were quickly put out, but firefighters are reminding the public that fire season is not over just yet.

Ashland resident Dan Thorndike said, “we just unpacked all the stuff we had packed up.”

Thorndike has been living in Ashland for three decades.

He saw the smoke plumes develop Thursday afternoon near his home.

“I was kind of surprised to see a bunch of guys in yellow shirts and some flames and stuff that they were dealing with,” Thorndike said.

Each fire spread to around 3/4 of an acre.

Thorndike said he was impressed with the quick response he got from the city’s Nixle alert system.

“I thought the system worked great. In terms of, they got the notice out on the text very quickly that there was the fire and don’t freak out,” he said.

Thorndike said he was surprised to see a fire start this late in fire season.

But, he understands how fire-prone Ashland can be.

“It’s still dry. I mean, if somebody wants to start a fire, I don’t know what the cause was, but you could definitely still start a fire,” he said.

The cause of both fires is still under investigation.

ODF’s Natalie Weber said the fires are a reminder that fire season isn’t over just yet.

“Vegetation is still dry, the fuels are still primed to burn and when we have these warm days that we’re going to be seeing for the foreseeable future, fires will start and still spread easily,” she said.

Weber said things like burn piles and campfires are still prohibited, until fire season ends.

But as cooler temperatures arrive, she said it’s important you be aware of restrictions still in place.

“We’re not quite out of the woods yet,” Weber said, “While we’re happy with the rain that we’ve received, things are still ready to burn and as much as we can keep fire off our landscape into the fall, we really want to do that.”

You can visit SWOFire.com for all the fire restrictions in Jackson and Josephine counties.

To sign up for the City of Ashland alerts, visit the city’s website.

You can also sign up for the citizen alert system in Jackson and Josephine Counties, on each county’s website.

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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