No charges were filed in fire near Gold Hill

Whatever happened to the guy who started the fire east of Gold Hill and north of Blackwell Road? Was he prosecuted and/or made to pay for the cost of fighting the fire and property damage?

— Donald L., Central Point

We assume you're talking about the 315-acre fire from September 2010, Donald, which investigators blamed on sparks from a pickax being used to break quartz rocks.

You know what they say about people who assume, but we feel pretty good that's the fire to which you're referring.

To address your questions, the answers are "nothing" and "no." Oregon Department of Forestry investigators concluded that landowners, whose names were not made available, had started the fire accidentally while they were splitting the rock, which they had planned to break up and move to another spot.

Because of that, they were not fined.

ODF officials said the property owners called 911 right after they saw the fire sprout on a patch of dry grass clippings.

The fire eventually destroyed a house as it spread. It took two days to fully contain the blaze, following the efforts of two air tankers, several helicopters and 200 firefighters.

Send questions to "Since You Asked," Mail Tribune Newsroom, P.O. Box 1108, Medford, OR 97501; by fax to 541-776-4376; or by email to We're sorry, but the volume of questions received prevents us from answering all of them.

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