Federal money will help cover fire's costs

The Federal Emergency Management Agency today authorized the use of federal funds to help battle fires burning on the outskirts of Medford and Ashland.

Now dubbed the South County fire complex, the two blazes erupted Monday. The Ashland fire, called the Siskiyou fire, started near the intersection of Siskiyou Boulevard and Crowson Road and burned through the hills south of Ashland, consuming one home, a few outbuildings, a pickup truck and about 150 acres. Near Medford, the Deer Ridge fire scorched about 630 acres but didn’t burn any homes or cause injuries, fire officials reported.

Each fire threatened about 200 homes, the request for FEMA help said. In Ashland, schools and commercial buildings were also threatened. Outside Medford, the fire threatens a major power transmission line and communications equipment used by Jackson County, as well as radio and television stations.

The authorization makes FEMA funding available to pay 75 percent of the state’s eligible firefighting costs under an approved grant for managing, mitigating and controlling designated fires. Eligible costs can include expenses for field camps; equipment use, repair and replacement; tools, materials and supplies; and mobilization and demobilization activities.

Federal fire management assistance is provided through the President’s Disaster Relief Fund and made available by FEMA to assist in fighting fires that threaten to cause a major disaster.

— Anita Burke

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