Crews Fight Beacon Hill Fire

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GRANTS PASS, Ore. – Fire rips through Grants Pass hillsides. Oregon Department of Forestry officials report the fire is currently at 115 acres. Crews worked overnight Friday toward containment.

Officials say the fire was unseasonably severe, both in speed and strength.

“Compared to last year the initial growth of the fire, they didn’t even see runs like this in the end of June,” said Brian Fish, Battalion Chief with Medford Fire Rescue.

Roughly 100 men and women responded from every single agency in Josephine cCunty, plus several districts in Jackson County. Helicopters poured water from overhead. And Sheriff’s crews waited to evacuate houses if the flames came over the hill.

Fortunately, they didn’t.

“It seemed to gel pretty quickly,” said Fish. “We got good communication so that by the time we were here they had a good idea of where they wanted to put us into place.”

Two houses were damaged, but no injuries or power outages were reported. And while many left their homes, no mandatory evacuations were needed.

But officials say the work isn’t done yet.

“You can probably see this going for the next 24 hours. Tonight it will probably die down a lot just because of the weather. It will cool off, the humidity will go up,” said Mike Shaw of Rural Metro Fire.

As for the rest of the season, they say it’s too early to take this as a sign of things to come. But it is quite the start.

“Right now I’d be, not concerned but looking out… Be prepared I guess,” said Fish.

Fire officials say drivers coming up and down I-5 will continue to see smoke throughout the night.