No link found in last week's fires

Fire investigators have determined that the two fires of the South County complex weren't related.

However, they are still figuring out what sparked the two separate fires hours apart in Medford and Ashland.

The Siskiyou fire south of Ashland started shortly after 10 a.m. on Sept. 21 near the intersection of Crowson Road and Siskiyou Boulevard. It burned about 190 acres before it was contained on Thursday.

The Deer Ridge fire in east Medford flared around 2:30 p.m. Sept. 21. From a starting point near Deer Ridge and Vista Points drives, it burned about 630 acres before it was contained on Thursday.

Investigators continue to search for the cause of each fire and the person responsible for that cause. Then they must determine whether the person was negligent, willful or malicious, Oregon Department of Forestry District Forester Dan Thorpe said.

Because the people responsible for the fires could face hefty bills related to fire-fighting costs as well as civil claims from homeowners whose property, including trees, were damaged, investigators aren't releasing details until their work is done, Thorpe said. He expects the inquiry into the fires to take at least a month.

— Anita Burke

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