Three small Bend fires offer big lessons

With weather warming, simple steps can prevent tragedy

BEND, Ore. - Three Bend fires that were fortunately stopped small in recent days have prompted reminders from fire officials about some simple ways to prevent blazes from igniting in the first place.

In the first incident, around 9 a.m. Saturday, firefighters responded to a reported roof fire at a home at 18890 Shoshone Road in Deschutes River Woods.

Capt. Darrel Levine said the homeowner was able to douse the fire, which involved pine needles and composition roofing material, before crews arrived.

A pellet stove flue ignited loose pine needles on the roof, Levine said. Damage was limited to about $100.

Though the fire was small and quickly controlled, Levine said it served as "a late-winter reminder to inspect and clean flue pipes and make sure combustible materials are kept clear of potential ignition sources.:

On Tuesday, shortly before 8:30 a.m., firefighters responded to a report of smoke and flames coming from the rear of a home at 2824 NE Baroness Place, said Capt. Karl Findling.

Crews arrived to find a small charcoal briquette-type barbecue and cigarette butts littering the duff around a juniper tree, beside a wooden deck, Findling said.

Damage was confined to the wooden deck and about $200, he said. Neighbors alerted the fire department and tried to notify residents, who were gone at the time.

Findling reminded residents that using any device for heating or cooking, even outdoors, generates high temperatures, and reminded people to cook away from combustible materials. He also said you should dispose of cigarettes and all barbecue ashes well away from combustible materials, and preferably in a metal container with water – never in a garbage can or in, on or next to combustibles.

In a third fire, around 4:40 p.m. Wednesday, firefighters were called to a possible fence on fire at 1206 NE Burnside Ave., Findling said.

Crews found a fire had burned a backyard cedar fence, but already had been put out with a garden hose.

hey also learned it was sparked by hot fireplace ashes that were discarded improperly.

Interestingly, Findling said the homeowner had put hot ashes in a metal can for 24 hours – but on Wednesday had transferred them to a combustible container, then put that container next to the wooden fence.

The fire captain reminded those disposing of hot ashes that they can remain very hot for 72 hours, under certain conditions, and should be kept in a metal container and covered with water before disposal.

"Never dispose of hot ashes in combustible containers such as garbage cans," Findling wrote.

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