Battalion chief: 'They weren't intentionally burning on the closed day.'
BEND, Ore. (KTVZ) -- Strong winds buffeted much of Central Oregon Sunday afternoon, leading to major damage, trees falling on houses and a burn pile rekindling and prompting evacuations in Deschutes River Woods.
Just after 3:30 p.m. Sunday afternoon, Bend Fire and Rescue crews responded to a small brush fire in the 60000 block of Cinder Butte Road in Deschutes River Woods.
A Saturday burn pile came back to life on Sunday due to strong winds, spreading across five lots, burning debris, vehicles and outbuildings.
Bend Fire Battalion Chief Scott Wyman helped explain the cause.
"The owner had thought that he had extinguished the fire, and the winds just fanned it back up and caused an ember to come out of that and cross his property line," Wyman said Monday. "That's where the fire started."
Wyman says although Saturday was considered a burn day (outside of Bend, where burning is prohibited year-round), there was a major misstep by the homeowner.
"A couple of things contributed to the fire," Wyman said. "One, that a stump was being burned. We don't recommend that, just because of the amount of time it takes to burn that. It can't get consumed in a day."
Wyman says due to predicted winds, they closed Sunday for burning. He said a resident can be fined for attempting to burn a stump, but it ultimately comes down to intent.
"They weren't intentionally burning on the closed day, and our fire marshal's office will review that and make the decision," Wyman said. "But generally, if the intention is good fines are usually not common."
Wyman says regardless of precautions, a forecast of strong winds is cause for concern.
Bend Fire and Rescue did not provide the cost of a possible fine.