Out of Control Burn Threatens Residence

A burn pile of yard debris left burning on the back yard of a residence caused one alarm natural cover fire in Wilbur yesterday afternoon (Wednesday, June 20th). Although the fire damage was limited to the grass and some shrubs, its rapid spread due to the predominant northeast wind posed a serious threat to the residence at 8270 Old Highway 99 North.

The fire was reported at 02:41 p.m. by neighbors, as well as the occupant of the property. 12 fire fighters with 1 fire engine, 2 brush engines and 3 command vehicles from the Winchester, Garden Valley, and Sutherlin Stations arrived on scene at 02:47 p.m. (5 minutes later), and declared the fire under control at 02:48 p.m. (1 minute after their arrival). Fire damage to the residence was avoided largely by the actions of the occupant of the home, neighbors, and a Good Samaritan – Byron Case, who with garden hoses kept the advance of the fire on check until the arrival of fire crews.

Fire investigators determined that the fire most likely started when smoldering ambers on a small burn pile were fanned the afternoon wind and ignited the grass around the burn pile.

DCFD2 strongly advises residents to follow these safety tips closely to avoid fires such as this:

  • Have a garden hose connected to a water supply or other fire extinguishing equipment (5 gallon bucket of water, shovels, water fire extinguisher) readily available next to the burn site.
  • All ground must be cleared at least 10 feet around burning piles down to mineral soil from grass, weeds and other materials to prevent the unwanted propagation of the fire across them.
  • All outdoor fires shall be constantly attended until the fire is extinguished. The attendant shall have line-of-sight view of the fire, and reliable communications available to summons assistance if needed.

Permit holders shall adhere to the safety instructions and stipulations of the permit at all times; and shall cease burning when conditions develop that can cause the fire to spread (i.e.; wind, blowing brands or embers).