GRANTS PASS, Ore. — Fire swept through a small transient camp along I-5 north of Grants Pass on Friday morning, according to Rural Metro Fire.
The agency said that the encampment was located several hundred feet from the roadside, part of a group of "over a dozen" camps scattered through the area.
Multiple law enforcement and firefighting agencies responded to the spot in an attempt to extinguish the flames. Unable to reach the area with fire engines, firefighters used extinguishers and backpack-style water bags with hand pumps to put the fire out without hoselines.
Crews were able to keep the flames from spreading too far into nearby grass.
"Information indicated that other suspicious activity was occurring in the camp around the time of the fire, and a suspect has been detained," Rural Metro said.
The precise cause of the fire remains under investigation.
"The increasing presence of transient camps pose a threat of wildfire each summer," Rural Metro continued. "Aside from the efforts of law enforcement, social service workers and affected property owners to address the issues, adjacent residents should take necessary steps to protect their home, such as maintaining defensible space and building fire breaks."