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Crook County wildfire traced to kids with a lighter


A 13-acre brushfire that threatened several homes and forced evacuations northwest of Prineville late Tuesday afternoon was traced to two juveniles playing with a lighter, Crook County sheriff’s deputies said.

The sheriff’s office, Crook County Fire and Rescue, Prineville police and firefighters with the BLM and Oregon Department of Forestry responded shortly before 5 p.m. to the reported brushfire on Northwest Panorama View, said sheriff’s Sgt. Bill Elliott.

The initial reports were that about 20 trees were engulfed and the fire was quickly spreading toward homes, Elliott said

First units on scene learned the fire indeed had spread fast and threatened several homes. Elliott said a Level 3 (“Go Now”) evacuation was issued and people were urged to leave their homes.

Fire officials said around 5:45 p.m. that the fire had been contained and the evacuation level was dropped to Level 1 (“Get Ready”), as people were allowed to return home. Elliott said crews would be working through the night to fully extinguish the fire, which damaged no homes.

An investigation determined the fire began when two juveniles were playing with a lighter and lit toilet paper on fire near some dry grass.

The case is being sent to the Crook County District Attorney’s Office for charging decisions, Elliott said.

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