A motorist was driving up East 30th Avenue’s sustained climb from south Eugene to Interstate 5 on Saturday afternoon when he noticed smoke coming out of his air conditioning vents.
After the unidentified man pulled over near Spring Boulevard, the old car was fully engulfed in flames within minutes. The fire soon spread to the brush and tall fir trees above the roadway, aided by a breeze.
A quick response by fire crews, arriving around 2 p.m., however, averted what could have a rapid escalation on a hot, dry and windy day, said Eugene-Springfield Fire Battalion Chief Matt Steinberg.
The trees that were ablaze were close to several homes on Kimberly Circle, he added.
“The guys did a very aggressive hit on (the fire), which traveled about 100 feet up the hill,” Steinberg said. “Given what is up there, it could have been a lot worse. If had gotten up into the homes, that could have been a big problem.”
Five fire engines and some support vehicles responded to the fire, dousing the hillside with water for several minutes after the fire appeared fully extinguished. The fire was under control by 2:30 p.m.
East 30th Avenue was closed down, in both directions, for a total of about 45 minutes, Steinberg said.
The unidentified driver sustained no injuries.
Follow Saul on Twitter @SaulAHubbard . Email firstname.lastname@example.org .