Crews Stop I-5 Milepost 54 Fire Near Grants Pass
UPDATE: SATURDAY, SEPT. 1 -- A rapidly spreading wildfire that partially shut down northbound I-5 has been brought under control. The highway is back to normal operation.
According to the Oregon Department of Forestry Facebook page, firefighters halted the I-5 Milepost 54 Fire burning near Grants Pass at around 5:30 p.m. Friday afternoon. The initial report came in just after 2:30 p.m. with an estimated size of one-acre.
Within minutes, the fire began spreading and spotting upslope in the direction of a dozen homes. While the homes were initially threatened by the fire, no homes were lost or damaged by this incident. Resources from multiple agencies were able to attack the fire both on the ground and in the air, and get a fire line around the perimeter a couple hours later.
The steep slopes and difficult access off of the freeway posed a challenge for all crews; however, they were able to make progress quite quickly.
Smoke will be present the next couple days as firefighters continue mopping up.
ORIGINAL POST: A new wildfire broke out near Grants Pass Friday afternoon (August 31), growing quickly and slowing traffic on Interstate Five.
Oregon Department of Forestry first reported the fire after 3 PM. That first report estimated the fire's size at 50 acres or more, growing quickly in the afternoon wind. That number was reduced to 10-15 acres by ODF, once the smoke cleared a bit.
The Oregon Department of Transportation closed the slow lane on the northbound side of I-5. Pictures from ODOT show the fire burning right to the edge of the freeway.
The fire is burning to the north of the freeway (to the right on the northbound side) at milepost 54, just before the first Grants Pass exit. ODOT tells travelers to expect delays beginning at the exit for the city of Rogue River, exit 48.
UPDATE 4:37 PM: ODOT closed the on-ramp northbound at Rogue River, because traffic is backed up to that point.