BEND, Ore. (KTVZ) – U.S. Forest Service law enforcement officers have a person in custody in connection with four human-caused fires discovered by a resident and tackled at small sizes Sunday near Horse Butte, about nine miles southeast of Bend, officials said Monday.
No other details were released about the suspect or possible charges, other than that the investigation is still active and there is no further threat to the area.
Three engine crews and a water tender were en route before 9 a.m. Sunday to the report of new fire starts near Horse Butte. An initial-attack aircraft also was called in to assist crews on the ground. The Forest Service assured residents there was no threat to homes in the area, although smoke might be visible.
The fires, grouped as Incident 949, were contained by about noon, officials said.
A resident of the Sundance subdivision posted on the social media app Nextdoor that she reported the fires, having found “four different piles all burning in a row,” about 100 feet apart, between Horse Butte Road and Swamp Wells Trail, off the Coyote Loop.
“Seems like they had to be intentionally set, with how wet everything still is from the rain on Friday,” she added.
Meanwhile, crews on Monday tackled two small fires near East Butte on the Deschutes National Forest, one a half-acre blaze in the Fort Rock area, east of Paulina Peak and China Hat Campground. Officials said one of the fires was confirmed to have been caused by lightning and the other was believed to have been as well.