Medford fire leaves 25,000 without power, snarls traffic

    A fast-moving wildfire in east Medford has closed road and knocked out power, leaving traffic in a tangle, officials said.

    Medford police have asked people to avoid the North Foothill Road between East McAndrews and Hillcrest roads. Gawkers clogged roads looking for a view of the leaping flames that sent a broad plume of smoke skyward.

    Firefighters said the fire had raced to the top of Roxy Ann Peak, but hadn't entered the city park.

    As the fire raced north, the Jackson County Sheriff's Department stopped southbound traffic on North Foothill Road at Vilas Road and anticipated closing a number of other roads in the area, Jackson County Sheriff Mike Winters said.

    A power outage affecting 25,000 customers across the Rogue Valley left traffic lights dark, further snarling traffic.

    Pacific Power spokesman Monte Mendenhall said that at about 3 p.m. the fire near Lone Pine substation shut down a 230-kilovolt transmission line that brings power to seven substations.

    The outage cut power to Jackson County's 9-1-1 center, so a mobile command center that had been at an Ashland wildfire rushed back to handle calls, Winters said.

    Other customers left without power were scattered across south, east and southwest Medford, Jacksonville, Ruch, Eagle Point, and Shady Cove.

    — Anita Burke

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