Thunderstorm knocks out power, sparks several small fires in Bend

Courtesy Rob Kerr

As expected, late thunderstorms with lightning caused several wildfire incidents across the region Thursday afternoon, according to Central Oregon Interagency Dispatch and Bend Fire.

The first fires were reported on Bend’s west side around 4:30 p.m.

Deputy Fire Marshal Dan Derlacki said multiple callers reported seeing columns of smoke from the Phil’s Trail and Skyliners area west of Bend.

Two separate fires were located in that area. One in the Phil’s Trial system just west of Tetherow and the Highlands neighborhoods.

The second fire was located off the 4606 Road above Tumalo Creek, Derlacki said.

Both fires were caused by the passing thunderstorm.

No homes were directly threatened by these fires and most access to the area remained open throughout the incident.

As crews were responding to those fires Bend experienced a power outage, which caused several fire alarm activations around town.

The remaining Bend Fire crews were able to assist those businesses with their alarms.

More fires were reported off of China Hat Rd and Alfalfa Market Rd.

On the Phil’s Trail and 4606 fires, a large air tanker was on scene very quickly, Derlacki said.

This tanker was on its way to another fire and diverted to assist.

The tanker was able to drop its load of retardant on the Phil’s Trail fire and help crews keep the fire at about 1 acre.

The 4606 Rd fire was held to half an acre.

No information is available at this time on the China Hat or Alfalfa Market fires.

Derlacki said this is a good reminder that even though we have received some rain over the past week we are still in extreme fire danger.

Vegetation is still dry and fires can still spread quickly even with the summer rain showers we’ve experienced.

Burning is still closed throughout much of Central and Eastern Oregon.

Fires were also reported near Black Butte and south of La Pine State Park.

For current wildland fire information, the public can visit or follow fire information on Twitter @CentralORfire.

Meanwhile, Pacific Power reported a power outage in Bend affecting about 12,000 customers.

By 5:45, power had been restored to about 8,700 customers.

They anticipated power would be fully restored around 8:30 p.m.





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