Crews from Ashland Fire & Rescue and the Oregon Department of Forestry launched a rapid response to a grass fire at 4:23 p.m. Friday and quickly extinguished a quarter-acre fire behind 801 Leonard St. in the Roca Creek canyon above the Southern Oregon University campus in an area of mowed, but dry, grass.
The cut grass made it easy for fire crews to handle fire, the cause of which is still under investigation, according to a news release from the city.
“This is another stark example of how fires can be relatively benign if property owners cut and maintain dry grass during the summer fire season,” said Forest Division Chief Chris Chambers.
The city’s weed abatement ordinance requires that owners cut dead grass and weeds to no more than 4 inches high by June 15 and keep it maintained through fire season as restrictions on gas powered machinery allow.
“This fire could have caused evacuations and threatened homes, but instead it was put out quickly," Chambers said. "The property owners cleared brush and small trees from this portion of the lot and that really helped firefighters access the fire quickly and safely.”
Residents are reminded that cool nights don’t mean that fire season has gone away. Hot and dry afternoons with wind can spike fire danger as evidenced by last year’s 100-acre grass fire just east of town on Halloween.
More information is available at www.ashland.or.us/fireseason and www.ashlandfirewise.org.