JACKSON COUNTY, Ore. — The Ashland Police confirmed today that the devastating Almeda fire, that has burned 3200 acres in residential areas of Phoenix, Talent, parts of North Ashland and South Medford destroying hundreds of homes, is being investigated as arson.
When asked about what evidence points to arson Ashland Police chief, Tighe O'Meara said, “I would not be open to discussing that right now.”
He noted that investigations into the suspected arson began as early as Tuesday afternoon when the fire broke out.
“We were on the fire scene Tuesday for our part of the investigation. Ashland Police is heading up the investigation for our part of the Almeda fire and the origin," O'Meara said.
He noted that human remains belonging to one victim of the fire were found along the Bear Creek Greenway but said the victim is not suspected to be involved with the arson.
“We have no reason to believe the body that was found is responsible for setting the fire. It’s a victim of the fire, not the suspect in the fire," he said.
The investigation is in its preliminary stages. The Major Assault/Death Investigation Unit (MADIU) has been activated. This brings detectives from several agencies into the investigation, including Medford, Central Point, OSP, JCSO as well as APD and the Jackson County District Attorney's Office.