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Three fires destroy RVs, spread to wildland at campsites on BLM land east, south of La Pine

Two RVs burned in suspicious blazes on federal land east of La Pine Sunday morning, spread to surrounding brush
La Pine Rural Fire District
Two RVs burned in suspicious blazes on federal land east of La Pine Sunday morning, spread to surrounding brush

(Update: Third fire also burns RV on BLM land south of La Pine)

La PINE, Ore. (KTVZ) – Three unoccupied RVs were destroyed by separate fires at dispersed campsites on BLM lands near La Pine on Sunday, spreading to nearby wildland, and two were deemed suspicious by fire investigators.

In the third blaze of the day, a Forest Service patrol crew spotted a smoke column around 3:20 p.m. on BLM land west of Highway 97 in the Jackpine Loop area just south of La Pine, where several dispersed campers live, La Pine Rural Fire District Chief Mike Supkis said Monday.

Access to the site was challenging, but crews found a fully involved RV, thought to be unoccupied, with flames quickly spreading to the surrounding area amid northerly winds and very warm temperatures, Supkis said.

Deschutes County sheriff’s deputies worked to evacuate several dispersed campsites in the area.

The La Pine fire district sent two engine crews, while water tenders responded from the Crescent and Bend fire departments, along with several Forest Service engines and a crew from Bend.  The Oregon Department of Forestry responded with an engine, as did the Oregon Department of Forestry and Walker Range Fire Patrol.

Crews held the fire to just under an acre, and Forest Service crews spent the evening mopping up. No injuries were reported and the cause of the fire was under investigation.

Meanwhile, Deschutes County and federal authorities are investigating a pair of suspicious fires early Sunday morning that destroyed a pair of RVs at two campsites on BLM land east of La Pine, spreading into the wildland and toward the community for a time, a Supkis said

La Pine RFPD t firefighters responded around 5:40 a.m. Sunday to the two dispersed campsites on BLM land east of Drafter Road and north of Rosland Road, Supkis said.

Ten firefighters with two engines and two water tenders responded to several smoke columns reported east of La Pine, in an area of several dispersed campsites and abandoned vehicles, he said.

They found the two burning, unoccupied RVs about a quarter-mile apart, fully involved and spreading into the wildlife and toward the city, he said.

Access to the sites proved difficult, but fire crews were helped by cooler early-morning temperatures and calm winds. They were able to contain both fires within an hour.

Both RVs were destroyed, Supkis said, and there were no known injuries.

The fires were deemed suspicious, and federal Central Oregon Fire Management Service crews were called to monitor and investigate. Deschutes County sheriff’s deputies also were on scene to help find the fires and begin the investigation, Supkis said.

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Barney Lerten

Barney is the digital content director for NewsChannel 21. Learn more about Barney here.



  1. With all the warnings from fire managers, BLM, and the Forest Service, my reaction was ‘well. that is all fine, but if you allow rampant homeless camping out in the woods, none of our safe behavior matters one bit’.

    1. I would just like to say I’m the owner of one of the RVs that burned and I lost everything I own and the only reason I was in that situation is because the coronavirus I lost my job house foreclosed on so maybe you should find out what the whole story is before saying what you said and maybe some of us don’t have another choice at this point So I asked the good people of Central Oregon if you have any information on these fires please share it with the authorities so they can get to the bottom of it and the guilty parties pay for their crimes

      1. Have you looked around?
        Nearly every business in central Oregon has a help wanted sign in the window. Help yourself get out of the situation and get a job.

  2. From the information shared so far, it sounds like these might have been remote homeless camps (abandoned vehicles?) and were targeted by people tired of seeing or dealing with the homeless population in central OReagan. Bummer.

    1. Huh? Harry bush sounds like you have some info to give to the police and investigation you should get a hold of them or they should get a hold of you and talk about what you know about this homeless problem in that area. Im just saying from what you just posted it sounds like you have some info to give them.

      1. Considering all the problems our ever increasing homeless population is causing in central Oregon I’d say mr bush has come to a likely conclusion

      2. I guess Barney didn’t like my previous response to you, jmancrenshaw, as he neglected to allow it to appear. Too bad. Well, I’ll just say it again in perhaps a different way…I have no sympathy for those who choose to live a homeless life and drain public resources or mar the landscape with their nasty-looking squatter camps. Check out that street on the north end of town behind Standard TV and Appliance if you’re not familiar with what I mean. Back in the day, vagabonds were ushered out of town by the local constabulary before they could become a problem. Nowadays, those vagabonds have as much or more rights than upstanding citizens. That don’t sit right with me and mine. Earn your way or get booted out. That’s how it’s always been, and that’s how it should always be. I have spoken.

        1. As we have reported, court rulings forbid local governments from just “booting out” homeless any more, unless there are adequate alternative shelter spaces. The homelessness issue has grown in many areas of the West.

          1. You can thank the conservative packed Supreme Court for the laissez faire homeless camping.
            City of Boise v. Martin, et al. (Docket No. 19-247, December 16, 2019

            1. Kuya – that was the 9th Circuit’s decision. They are hardly known for their conservative rulings. The Supreme Court didn’t hear the case. Right Wing Justice Kagan reviewed for the court in June of 2019 and said nope.

        2. Oh I’m familiar with it and other areas as well I’m just as disgusted as you are bend used to be a really nice small community 30 40 years ago people nowadays call it progress I call it its time for me to leave.

        3. Yeah “local constabulary” used to do that to Blacks and Irish and Italians and Mexicans too.

          Those were the good old days, when we applied rights differently to everyone: Americas Best Days.

    2. That was my first reaction. But, I doubt people who object to homeless would endanger the woods just to burn up an RV. I’m betting on something going wrong in the RV’s themselves. Of course, we are all just guessing.

  3. As long as we have homeless living in the forest this is what happens They don’t care When is the Forestry / the cities & Law enforcement going to run them out of here now & for ever These towns look like city dumps

  4. The good thing about relying on speculation is that facts aren’t required before penning a comment and one’s prejudices can easily fill in the blanks.

  5. To everyone running ur mouth, I’m 24 a single mom of a 5 year old. Had my own place job nice car etc then COVID hit and no matter how hard I tried. I lost my job next was down grading cars then went to downgrading house to rv. I was forced homeless. And guess what. That 3rd fire south of lapine was my Rv. Thought to be unoccupied why? Because I kept it clean and didn’t have trash everywhere. (I know hard to believe) i just thank god my child our dog and I had left not even 15 minutes prior to someone setting it on fire. It was a 2011 rv. Nothing was on at all. I always make sure of that. And NOT ONE EMERGENCY PERSONNEL ASKED ME OR ONE OF THE MENY PEOPLE CAMPED NEARBY WHAT HAPPENED WHOS RV IT WAS AND WHEN ASKED IF NEEDED TO CLEAR THE AREA NOT ONE OF THEM EVEN SPOKE A WORD TO US. THERE WERE NO COPS ANYWHERE CLOSE TO THIS FIRE AND STILL TO THIS DAY NOT ONE HAS SHOWN THERE FACE TO ASK ANY QUESTIONS.

    Now for those Entitled righteous self-absorbed big headed I get what I want whenever I want it kind of people commenting all your nasty rude comments. Here’s my REAL question, which one of you guys is going to give me a full-time job pay me way more than minimum wage pay for a new car a house for me and my son as well as daycare while I’m working!? anyone ready to supply that for me? I’ll be waiting!

    Tell then pull ur head out of ur pop shoot and realize not everyone is the same. There is a lot of bad homeless camps. But some have different Circumstances and fall nowhere near the category you just put them in so have a little respect and show a little sympathy for the ones that are in a position who just now became truly homeless and don’t know what they’re gonna do because they just lost everything and I do mean everything.

    Have a good day hopefully yours will be better than mine

    1. I would bet there’s a high probability that if your job loss was really due to covid that they would gladly hire you back and most likely at a higher rate than when you lost the job. But if not you’re in luck, everybody is hiring right now.

      However in most cases you still have to go apply, they don’t come find you.

      The excuse used by many that, I can’t find work, is bogus, it’s a job seekers market like never before.

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