A fire just outside White City destroyed an outbuilding early Monday, but no one was hurt, and the house nearby was spared.
The blaze was reported just after 2 a.m. at a property in the 3000 block of Corey Road, just south of White City near the Jackson County Sports Park, according to Jackson County Fire District 3 acting Battalion Chief Scott Downing. The flames were called in by a passerby, he said.
Fire District 3 responded with four engines. When they arrived on scene, they found the structure was fully involved. Crews immediately went on the defensive to prevent the flames from spreading throughout the yard, which stored several vehicles. Crews had the fire knocked down within 20 minutes, Downing said.
“It was far enough away from the home that it did not pose a threat to the residence,” he said.
The shed, which Downing estimates was about 20-by-20-feet in size, was a total loss. The structure had housed a variety of tools, vehicle parts and other miscellaneous property that was also lost. The value attached to the lost property was not immediately available. The cause was still under investigation Monday.
Officials said the blaze could have been much worse had it happened during the daytime because of the increased heat and low humidity.
“This time of year, even with the recent (rain) storms, we still are in fire season,” Downing said. “The materials on the ground are still primed for combustion.”
Hours before the fire, on Sunday evening, rain and fierce winds blew through Jackson County, with gusts as strong as 45 mph, according to the National Weather Service.
From 2 p.m. Sunday to 2 p.m. Monday, Jackson County saw 17 ground strikes, while Josephine County saw three. But while they were few in number, most of the strikes were of the considerably stronger, positively charged variety, according to meteorologist Sven Nelaimischkies.
“Which is very unusual,” Nelaimischkies said. “Those can be up to 10 times the strength of a negative strike.”
The strikes did not appear to have caused any visible smoke or flames, wildland fire officials said,
“We’ve had several people call in, but so far every single one has been a false alarm,” said Melissa Cano, Oregon Department of Forestry public information officer. “So far, we’re in good shape, and we hope it’ll stay that way.”
More thunderstorms are possible Wednesday afternoon and evening in Jackson County, with the potential for strong winds and hail. That weather is expected to primarily affect the Southern Oregon Cascades, officials said.
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