Multiple brush fires keep firefighters busy, damage Gresham home - KPTV - FOX 12

Multiple brush fires keep firefighters busy, damage Gresham home

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Dry, windy conditions are not only fanning the flames of wildfires in rural parts of the northwest, but in urban areas as well.

For the past couple of days, crews have been working around the clock, responding to calls of house and apartment fires in Vancouver, Milwaukie and Portland, and wild land fires in Washington, Multnomah and Clark counties.

Homeowners found themselves fighting a fast-moving brush fire as it headed straight for their Vancouver neighborhood.

Strong wind swept the fire through a field full of dry grass near the corner of Northeast 49th Street and Northeast 137th Avenue Saturday afternoon.

David Wiens caught the frightening scene on his cell phone as people desperately tried to protect their homes from the fire.

"I run out to get the hose because I run out into the backyard to look and flames are engulfing this field behind our house," said Wiens.

After he grabbed the garden hose, he jumped his backyard fence and joined his neighbors trying to keep the fire from spreading any further.

"We had shovels and hoses. I grabbed a towel because I had seen it in the movies, you know like a wet towel. I was just bludgeoning the flames," he said.

It took about an hour for firefighters to finally get the fire under control.

The fire destroyed an old barn in the field but didn't damage any of the homes.

"A wind-swept fire is a dangerous fire in this dry of conditions because it burns so quickly and the fire is actually pushed by the wind," said Dan Olson, deputy chief with Vancouver Fire.

Investigators haven't determined a cause of the fire.

Several grass fires reported along highways have been responded to as well.

Another brush fire spread to a home on Northeast 26th Street in Gresham Street Saturday night. The fire started in some bushes behind the house, then spread to the attic. A couple inside the house escaped unhurt.

Fortunately, most of the calls have been limited to structures or ground cover, and haven't caused significant injuries to people.

Currently, a Red Flag warning is in effect. A Portland Fire Bureau spokesman is reminding residents that the area is under a burn ban. That means only charcoal and propane barbecues are allowed, and all other burning is prohibited.

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