Motorhome exhaust, hot engine sparks brushfire in north Bend; salvage yard destroyed

A hot engine and exhaust of a motorhome sparked a 39-acre bushfire in north Bend that destroyed two outbuildings, hundreds of cars at a junkyard and forced the evacuation of some neighborhoods, Bend Police said.

The fire, fueled by dry conditions, scorching hot temperatures, and gusty winds, prompted a Level 3 “GO NOW” evacuation notice for all residences north of Cooley Road and east of Highway 97 on Saturday afternoon.

Residents were allowed to return home around 9:30 p.m. Saturday. Meanwhile, officials dropped a Level 1 evacuation notice for JD Estates.

The fire started around 3:50 p.m., according to Bend FIre, and moved into the Juniper Ridge area, threatening outbuildings and Bend Autowreckers

At 7:30 Central Oregon Fire Information tweeted: “Forward progress of Juniper Ridge fire north of Bend stopped. Still very hot on interior.”

The Red Cross set up a shelter for those evacuated at the St. Francis Assissi Church on NE 27th street. It initially had set up at Lava Ridge, but the conditions warranted a move.

The fire quickly grew, prompting mutual aid resources from neighboring fire departments, several strike teams, and air resources, Battalion Chief Trish Connolly said.

As the fire burned in the salvage yard east of Highway 97, our photographer on the scene could hear the loud popping of airbags deploying amid the whirls of choppers and SEATs dropping water and retardant from above.

Black plumes of smoke could be seen for miles – and for hours as two dozen cars in the salvage yard burned long into the night.


Featured image courtesy Deschutes County Sheriff’s Office.

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