East Evans Fire Sparked by BHO Lab (Photo)
ROGUE RIVER, Ore. – Investigators say a wildfire that burned 155 acres was started by an explosion in an illegal marijuana extraction laboratory. One man is in jail on charges related to drug manufacturing and arson, while detectives continue their investigation.
On Friday, August 2, 2019, at 2:38 p.m., dispatch received a 911 call reporting a wildfire in the 18700-block of East Evans Creek Road. The fire, later dubbed the East Evans Fire, quickly spread, leading to the evacuation of nearby residences and the closure of a section of East Evans Creek Road.
Jackson County Sheriff’s Office (JCSO) deputies arriving at the scene learned the fire began in a makeshift structure that housed a post extraction operation, commonly known as a "butane honey oil" or "butane hash oil" (BHO) laboratory. The process generally involves the use of flammable solvents to extract oils from marijuana plants, creating a concentrated form of the drug. Detectives with the Illegal Marijuana Enforcement Team (IMET) arrived to assume the investigation while JCSO deputies assisted with evacuating nearby homes and traffic control.
That afternoon, deputies arrested Michael A. Cashmareck, 24, of Pennsylvania, and lodged him in jail. 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.
IMET detectives learned the property is not legally permitted as a grow site. Detectives continue to investigate the case, including the possible involvement of additional suspects. Anyone with information about the incident is asked to call the IMET tip line at (541) 618-1847.
IMET is a task force consisting of personnel from JCSO, the Medford Police Department, and the Jackson County District Attorney’s Office. Detectives were further assisted by investigators from the Oregon Office of the State Fire Marshal.