Fires still a threat on Bear Creek Greenway, even as temperatures drop
MEDFORD, Ore. —
Hot and dry conditions are no longer an issue by this point in the year out here at Bear Creek Greenway.
But even if fire can't spread as quickly, the issue hasn't gone away.
Medford Fire-Rescue has been tracking fires on the greenway since last December after noticing an uptick.
Since then, they've seen 62 fires in the area, continuing throughout the year.
While many have been small, showing up and resolving the issue still takes resources that are in short supply to begin with.
"We have an increased homeless population living down there on the greenway. And as the temperatures especially get colder, they're just trying to stay warm," says Deputy Chief Justin Bates with Medford Fire-Rescue
Deputy Chief Bates says they're dealing with a larger issue to begin with - preventing these winter camp fires requires a collective effort not just between fire fighters and police, but also local non-profits and the people that support them to get the homeless out off the greenway for good.
Right now multiple city agencies are working to resolve the issue of greenway fires, looking at more systematic issues like homelessness.. as well as cutting back more fire prone vegetation.
And now with a break from the drier, hotter, fire-prone days, Medford has some time to develop solutions before next summer.