Firefighters urge safety ahead of dry weekend - KPTV - FOX 12

Firefighters urge safety ahead of dry weekend

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Temperatures soared into the triple digits for a second day in a row Friday. It's the first time that's happened in six years.

As the heatwave stretches into the weekend, it means busy times for firefighters.

Crews are staying very busy chasing grass and brush fires like the one in Southwest Portland Thursday night.

It burned up the grass and trees and caused some minor damage to a house, not as bad as some recent local blazes

Firefighters warn that dangerously dry conditions mean we all have to be extra careful over the weekend.

Denise Hansen lives close to where the brush fire broke out on Southwest Custer Drive.

"Well, I was just sitting at home reading in my room with the window open and I could smell the fire," she recalled.

Fire crews tackled it before it spread too far and they don't know what caused it. But Hansen worries it was someone being careless.

"It's really concerning because I see so many people walk past here and they smoke, and you just look around and look - there's a cigarette butt right there," Hansen said, spotting a possible fire starter.

Firefighters all over the area are trying to keep up with brush fires, like another blaze that started in Newberg Thursday night.

It burned 14 acres on Parrett Mountain, forcing some people to evacuate their homes for a while. There was also a wildfire on Livingston Mountain, just east of Clark County.

The fires are out now, but officials worry about the next one.

"Yes, this year has been a very dry year for us,” said Kim Kosmas with Portland Fire and Rescue. ”So it's imperative that people think about safety."

Portland firefighters want to remind the public that a burn ban is still in effect, meaning no backyard burning or recreational fires are allowed. Barbecues are ok, but they say be mindful of getting rid of ashes.

"They need to dispose of them correctly in some kind of non-combustible container so that they won't extend or start a fire somehow because they're still hot," Kosmas explained.

As long as this heat continues, Hansen hopes people will just take a moment and be smart.

"The brush catches fire.  The grass can catch fire so quickly," she said. "And I’m not sure people even think about it."

Portland fire officials said that tossed cigarettes are the cause of a number of brush fires.

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