Winter’s rain long gone: 2017 fire season declared

Firefighters quickly responded to the grass fire

Crews put out a grass fire near I-205 and Foster on July 6, 2017. (KOIN)
Crews put out a grass fire near I-205 and Foster on July 6, 2017. (KOIN)

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) – Remember that record-setting wet weather we had in the winter? That was then. Now, it’s fire season.

A fast-moving grass fire happened Thursday near I-205 and Foster, however, firefighters responded within minutes and were quickly able to extinguish it.

ODOT cameras showed the fire, closing in on MAX tracks as it sent smoke and flames into the sky.

Lt. Tommy Schroeder with Portland Fire and Rescue, said “Things are extremely flammable right now with the weather conditions. The low humidity, the high temperatures we’ve been having, the light winds that are drying out the light fuels. It’s making everything catch on fire very, very easily.”

As the hot weather progresses, there is going to be more damage, according to Schroeder.

Crews put out a grass fire near I-205 and Foster on July 6, 2017. (KOIN)
Crews put out a grass fire near I-205 and Foster on July 6, 2017. (KOIN)

He said crews worry more about heavy brush, like trees, which can fuel fires much hotter than a typical grass fire.

Thursday’s grass fire is another reminder for people to know how they can prevent a flame.

“Just be real careful of where you’re discarding your BBQ ashes, where you’re flicking your cigarettes,” Schroeder said.

Officials are still investigating what caused the flame.

The Oregon Department of Forestry recently declared it fire season, triggering restrictions on activities in forests protected by ODF.

The restrictions, which apply to protected forestlands and land in a 1/8 mile radius, include a ban on tracer ammunition, exploding targets, fireworks and open-fires, except at designated locations.

Washington County fire departments are also now enforcing burn bans starting July 10 through the rest of the summer. That ban is on outdoor burning but small campfires fir burning or cooking for fun is allowed.

Smoking is also prohibited except when in a car or boat. However, portable stoves that use liquefied or bottled fuels are still permitted.

There are also restrictions placed on industrial fires, requiring all industrial fire operators within the district to have firefighting equipment on site.