(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.