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Grass fire likely human-caused

A grass fire that torched almost a half acre of brush in a field next to the West Main Street Albertsons Sunday night was likely human-caused, but the specific ignition source has been deemed “undetermined,” according to fire officials.

“It was likely transient-related, either a cooking fire or a discarded cigarette, but there were no other competent ignition sources around it,” said Deputy Fire Marshal Chase Browning of Medford Fire-Rescue.

Browning said there were multiple campsites and foot paths near the spot where the fire started, at the east end of a field at 113 Ross Lane.

Emergency dispatch started receiving calls about the brush fire just before 8 p.m. Sunday. When fire crews arrived on scene — with two engines, a brush rig and a battalion chief’s vehicle — flames were raging through a field full of star thistle, dry grass and other weedy vegetation. Crews had to force entry by pushing over a chain link fence that separated a stretch of road behind Albertsons from the field. Medford police also responded to the scene.

Firefighters acted quickly, snuffing the flames about five minutes after they arrived on scene. The fire had been advancing east to west across the field toward a storage facility, but crews were able to extinguish the flames before they reached it. No nearby businesses or homes had to be evacuated. No injuries or property damage were reported.

Firefighters were on scene until about 9:30 p.m. mopping up hot spots and checking for any reignitions, Browning said.

Reach web editor Ryan Pfeil at rpfeil@rosebudmedia.com or at 541-776-4468. Follow him on Twitter at twitter.com/ryanpfeil.

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