SILETZ — Two separate fires broke out at the same time in rural Lincoln County last Thursday afternoon, while a third started late Friday night.
Each fire was quickly extinguished before it could spread, thanks in part to cooperation with the Oregon Department of Forestry and overwhelming responses from multiple county fire districts at each incident.
Both of the Thursday, Sept. 2, fires began around 2:30 p.m., one in a field on Ojalla Road north of Siletz and another in a wildland area further up Highway 229 (Siletz Highway) near milepost 15.
Toledo Fire & Rescue arrived on scene at the Ojalla fire before quickly receiving word of the second fire roughly five minutes to the north. Siletz Valley Rural Fire continued past Ojalla to the second fire, and North Lincoln Fire & Rescue arrived on scene soon after to lend mutual aid. Toledo remained on scene at Ojalla and was assisted by Oregon Department of Forestry personnel until it was extinguished, with personnel heading to the second fire afterward.
The Ojalla fire was quickly extinguished after spreading to a 200-foot area, but the Siletz Highway fire grew to approximately three acres before it was knocked down. According to a North Lincoln Fire & Rescue release, personnel and equipment from every Lincoln County fire district arrived on scene to assist and conduct cleanup, which continued the rest of the afternoon.
According to NLFR Fire Chief Rob Dahlman, immediate and overwhelming response from multiple fire districts was key in preventing the Siletz Highway fire from becoming a much larger incident. Both incidents occurred in an Oregon Department of Forestry coverage area, with which local fire districts have mutual aid agreements to help prevent countywide incidents.
No injuries were reported from either incident, and no structures were significantly damaged.
Dahlman also noted that the causes of both fires were identified and were determined to be unrelated. The Ojalla fire was caused by a tool malfunction while a property owner was doing yard work, while the Siletz Highway fire was caused by a discarded cigarette.
The Friday, Sept. 3, fire began around 10 p.m. near milepost 19 on the Siletz Highway and involved an RV that was reported to be fully engulfed in flames at that time. A Facebook post from Toledo Fire states the flames soon spread to nearby vegetation.
Siletz Fire was dispatched first, with Toledo Fire following soon after. Aid from the Oregon Department of Forestry was requested after it was clear the blaze had spread to nearby trees and brush.
The fire was knocked down by approximately 10:36 p.m. and turned over to ODF responders thereafter. No cause for the initial RV fire could be determined.
The county’s current fire risk level is moderate, however, a full countywide burn ban is still in effect until further notice, banning all open flames from sources without a shutoff valve.