A fire outside Ashland city limits that briefly reached two-alarm status was quickly knocked down Tuesday afternoon.

The fire destroyed more than 50 percent of a house at 594 S. Valley View Road, according to Jackson County Fire District  5 Chief Charles Hanley, but the home's occupants and pets had escaped safely by the time rescuers arrived on scene.

Ashland police called in the fire at about 12:40 p.m., according to Hanley. When Fire District 5 and Ashland Fire and Rescue arrived, the house was in flames and large plumes of smoke were visible from Interstate 5.

The fire destroyed the roof of the house and severely damaged the front of the building, but Hanley said smoke and heat damage is "through the entire house," making it difficult to point out where the fire started until crews can further investigate.

Fire crews knocked down the fire within 10 minutes of their arrival, Hanley said, but not before calling a second alarm about 12:55 p.m. that brought Medford Fire-Rescue on scene. Medford crews turned back after the second alarm was cancelled.

Challenges fighting the fire included a long, steep, narrow driveway and no hydrants nearby. Three Fire District 5 fire engines, two Ashland fire engines and three water tenders were used to fight the fire.

Hanley reminded homeowners to keep narrow driveways clear of vegetation so rescuers can better access them, and to post addresses visibly and legibly so they're easier to find in an emergency.