▶️ Weekend fires underscore region’s tinder-dry conditions


At least two fires broke out over the Fourth of July weekend.

The first near Paulina Lake scorched 48 acres before firefighters got a line around it.

The second along Highway 20 east of Bend that damaged three properties and threatened a home.

The fire near Paulina Lake was reported about 1 p.m. Sunday by the Round Mountain Fire Lookout.

Firefighters, engines, a bulldozer, and a water tender responded quickly and found the fire growing rapidly in trees and brush east of Highway 97 and north of the Paulina Lake Road.

“We were really lucky we were able to get a heavy air tanker doing some drops. We had a couple of other tankers working it as well,” said Cassidy Kern, Public Information Officer, Central Oregon Fire Management.

“Having that aerial assistance is really important. You are never going to win a fire from the air but you are going to get some advantages and that’s exactly what we got yesterday. They gave us enough of an advantage that the firefighters on the ground were then able to really get around it and hook it and it’s still at 48 acres which is what it was at 6 o’clock last night.”

About the time firefighters were getting a grip on the Paulina Lake Fire, another fire was reported on Highway 20 east of Bend.

Crews from Alfalfa, Bend, and Tumalo responded and found a wind-driven fire burning through juniper and dry brush heading toward a home on Ten Barr Road

“The wind was taking it right towards their house. They really concentrated their efforts on saving that house. It burned very close to the deck. Got close enough to blister the paint and melt windows,” said Tom Stueve, a neighbor on Ten Barr Road. “They feel very fortunate.”

Cigarette butts discarded in dry vegetation were determined the cause of the Ten Bar Road fire.

A travel trailer, two acres of trees, landscaping, and fencing were damaged.

The cause of the Paulina Lake fire has yet to be determined.

“To the degree that we can manage our own ignitions, we need to,” said Kern. “Whether that’s cutting firewood; bring along a bucket of water and your shovel. If you are hauling a trailer or a boat out to the forest, make sure your chains are picked up and not sparking on the ground. All those little things that can make a big difference, those are things we need to be doing.”

Fire danger is high. Vegetation is dry and easily ignited.


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