Large DRW yard debris pile ignites, puts up smoke

Cause not known; likely to take days to extinguish

BEND, Ore. - Bend firefighters were called out to a large pile of smoldering yard debris in Deschutes River Woods south of town Monday morning and said it's likely to put up a lot of smoke for days, until it's fully out.

Firefighters responded just after 6 a.m. to the reported fire in a cinder pit at the south end of Cinder Butte Road, said Deputy Fire Marshal Dan Derlacki. Crews found the fire putting out plenty of smoke from a pile of about 2,000 cubic yards of yard debris.

Firefighters helped workers on the site operated by High Desert Mulching contain the fire to the pile to ensure it can't escape, Derlacki said, adding that the cause of the fire was undetermined and "there are no immediate threats to homes or property" from it.

"The workers at this site called 911 as soon as they noticed the fire," Derlacki wrote in a news release. "This allowed crews plenty of time to arrive and ensure the fire was not going to spread from the pile to the nearby open forest land."

"We are in extreme fire danger right now," he noted, "and even the smallest fire can grow out of control very fast. If you see a fire, call 911 as soon as possible."

Derlacki said the workers likely will spend several days making sure the fire is completely out, and he warned it "will produce a great deal of smoke" in the meantime, likely visible from Highway 97, as well as by residents of Deschutes River Woods and Bend.

The Oregon Department of Forestry and U.S. Forest Service also were notified, and crews will be checking regularly on the process of extinguishing the blaze, the fire official said.

The property is owned by the Kevin Eric Peterman Trust, Deschutes County property tax records indicated.

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