Investigators: Explosion at illegal pot lab sparked southern Oregon wildfire

Photo provided by the Jackson Co. Sheriff's Office. 

ROGUE RIVER, OR (KPTV) - Investigators say a wildfire that burned through more than 150 acres in southern Oregon was sparked by an explosion at an illegal marijuana extrication laboratory.

The fire, later dubbed the East Evans Fire, spread quickly, closing a second of East Evans Creek Road and forcing the evacuation of nearby homes, according to Jackson County Sheriff’s Office.

Investigators say the fire earlier this month began in a makeshift structure that housed a post-extraction operation, which is commonly known as a butane honey oil laboratory.

“The process generally involves the use of flammable solvents to extract oils from marijuana plants, creating a concentrated form of the drug,” according to the sheriff’s office.

Detectives say the property is not legal permitted as a grow site.

Deputies Aug. 2 arrested Michael A. Cashmareck, 24, of Pennsylvania, in connection with the fire. Cashmareck was later indicted by a grand jury on one count of unlawful manufacture of cannabis and two counts of arson incident to manufacture of cannabinoid extract in the first degree.

Detectives continue to investigate and say there could be additional suspects. Anyone with information about the incident is asked to call their tip line at 541-618-1847.

Copyright 2019 KPTV-KPDX Broadcasting Corporation. All rights reserved.

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