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00000171-95d3-d2cb-a5f3-9fff6ded0000 Check here for information on fires in our region. You can also check out these resources:Northwest Interagency Coordination CenterSWOFIRE: Oregon Department of Forestry, SW regionCalFire: Current Fire InformationInciWeb: Incident Information SystemOregon Smoke Blog: Smoke informationSouth Central Oregon Fire Management Cooperative (Klamath/Lake Counties & Crater Lake)

Central Point Fire Damages Homes

Oregon Department of Forestry

A late-afternoon grass fire forced dozens of homes and businesses to evacuate an area near the Jackson County Expo Park Tuesday.

The Penninger Fire broke out before 5 PM near the Family Fun Center by the south end of the park.  It quickly grew to more than 50 acres, and the police ordered immediate evacuations.  The evacuation zone spread more than a mile from the fire, and forced workers to leave the nearby Costco and the National Weather Service office just west of the Medford airport grounds.  Police closed the Central Point exit on Interstate Five.

Jackson County Fire District 3 and crews from other agencies attacked from the air and ground.  By 6:30 PM, JCFD3 reported that the spread of the fire had been stopped.  Police lifted evacuation orders, but advised residents already out to stay away.

Oregon Department of Forestry relayed word from Fire District 3 that structures were damaged in the area, and a more complete count would be provided once crews could get into the area for a full damage assessment. 

Geoffrey Riley is a graduate of the University of Missouri School of Journalism and has hosted the Jefferson Exchange on JPR since 2009. He's been a broadcaster in the Rogue Valley for more than 35 years, working in both television and radio.