Tab for Monday's fires in Medford, Ashland hits $1.7 million

Battling the fires of the South County Complex has cost $1.7 million so far.

The two fires — the Siskiyou fire south of Ashland and the Deer Ridge fire on the east edge of Medford — started Monday and, amidst high winds and hot weather, exploded in size. Both were contained Thursday evening. No cause has been determined for either, although officials have said both were caused by humans.

As the fires raged near 500 homes, businesses and other structures on Monday, Gov. Ted Kulongoski granted a Conflagration Act order at which released state resources to help protect buildings.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency also stepped in to authorized the use of federal funds to help battle the fires. The federal funding, provided through the President's Disaster Relief Fund, is available to pay 75 percent of the state's eligible firefighting costs, such as field camps; equipment use, repair and replacement; tools, materials and supplies; and mobilization and demobilization activities.

Details aren't yet available on how the costs will be shared.

— Anita Burke

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