Hay truck, 20 acres burn along I-5

A fire that destroyed a semi truck and burned over 20 acres of land forced the closure of the north and southbound lanes of Interstate 5 at milepost 239 near Jefferson for approximately six hours last Wednesday, state police said.

Shortly after noon on Aug. 13, passersby reported a small fire burning along Interstate 5 at milepost 191 near Eugene. Over a period of an hour and a half, several more small fires were reported at various locations along I-5 between mileposts 191 and 235.

At approximately 2 p.m. a 1998 Freightliner semi-truck hauling a load of hay, operated by Adam Spencer, 26, of Brownsville, was northbound on I-5 near milepost 235. As the truck passed milepost 235 a small fire burning along the shoulder ignited the load of hay.

Spencer continued for approximately three more miles before realizing that the load of hay had become fully engulfed in fire. At approximately milepost 239, he pulled to the side of the road. Spencer was able to escape his truck uninjured as both the semi truck and the load of hay became fully engulfed in fire, police said.

Around the same time that the semi truck became fully engulfed in fire, a brush fire started along the east shoulder of the freeway in the area of milepost 239.

The fire quickly spread over a hillside and moved east from the freeway towards the town of Jefferson. The brush fire, which burned approximately 20 acres, did not damage any structures. Police said it is not clear whether the brush fire was a direct result of the burning truck. No injuries were reported as a result of either fire, but the truck was destroyed.

Both northbound and southbound lanes of I-5 were closed for approximately six hours..

Police are asking anyone with information relating to the cause of the fires to contact Sr. Trooper Corey Simons at (541) 967-2026 ext. 4200.