Brush, garage fires have La Pine crews hopping

Ammunition in detached garage was exploding

La Pine outbuilding fire - Nick Thomas

Two separate and unrelated fires – one an illegal burn that sparked a brushfire, the other in a detached garage – broke out 1 ½ miles and 13 minutes apart Saturday afternoon and had La Pine Rural Fire District and other crews on the run. And the second blaze had an added challenge -- stored ammunition was exploding in the heat.

First, around 12:30 p.m., came a report of a brushfire at 51638 Dorrance Meadow Road, said Capt. Mark Pautz.

An illegal open burn pile escaped, burning about 1/10 of an acre and a detached woodshed, Pautz said. Fortunately, winds were pushing the fire away from the nearby home, though into grass and trees.

La Pine fire crews, assisted by the U.S. Forest Service, quickly stopped the forward movement of the blaze and had it lined and doused with no further damage to any structures, Pautz said.

But before they were done, around 12:43 p.m., came word of a structure fire in a detached garage at 51427 Cedar Road, Pautz said. Some of the crews responding to the brushfire were diverted to the structure fire.

The garage was engulfed when the first crews arrived, with flames spreading and getting very close to the house.

Also, first a downed power line was popping on the ground -- and then ammunition apparently stored inside was exploding in the heat. Nearby resident Nick Thomas, who videotaped the fire, said shells were found throughout the neighborhood.

An initial attack by firefighters kept that fire also from spreading to the house, but the garage was a total loss, Pautz said, adding that the cause of that fire was under investigation. Sunriver firefighters were called out to help on that blaze.

A total of two-dozen firefighters were called out on the two blazes; Pautz said they were at the Dorrance Meadow address for two hours and the Cedar Road blaze for three hours.

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