Welder sparks Lower Bridge fire; power line arcs

Blaze stopped at 2 1/2 acres

By KTVZ.COM news sources
POSTED: 2:16 PM PDT July 5, 2013    UPDATED: 5:14 PM PDT July 5, 2013 
Lower Bridge-43rd brushfire Tim Buckner
TERREBONNE, Ore. -

A welder apparently sparked a fast-moving brushfire that burned about 2 1/2 acres off Lower Bridge Way west of Terrebonne and caused a BPA power transmission line to arc and briefly shut down Friday afternoon, officials said.

The alarm was called in at 1:22 on the fire along NW 43rd Street between Lower Bridge Way and Ice Avenue, said Redmond Fire Battalion Chief Chris Simmons.

With a high risk of spread, Central Oregon Interagency Dispatch Center dispatchers sent two BLM and Forest Service engines to help tackle the wind-fanned blaze, which didn't threaten structures  but did send up smoke that caused the BPA line to arc and shut down temporarily, Simmons said.

"It made a pretty loud boom when it did it," Simmons said, but the line reset itself with no apparent damage.

The welding work was taking place on a ranch adacent to Bureau of Land Management property on the east side of 43rd Street, Simmons said.

The fire was determined to be burning mainly on BLM land, so command was transferred to that agency after initial knockdown of the fire, the battalion chief said.

The workers who started the fire put out a small spot fire on the west side of the road, Simmons said.

"It was a little bit hairy for a second, but we managed to cut it off," Simmons said, adding that crews remained on scene for mop-up work for several hours.

Despite some cooler temperatures, the early-summer fire danger lingers. Around 4 p.m., a small brushfire was knocked down quickly at 61490 Ward Road, east of Bend.