Portland firefighters offer warning, advice following recent bru - KPTV - FOX 12

Portland firefighters offer warning, advice following recent brush fires

Posted: Updated: Aug 03, 2016 10:44 PM
Photo: KPTV Photo: KPTV
PORTLAND, OR (KPTV) -

From a brush fire along I-84, to an early morning grass fire damaging a southeast Portland apartment complex, it’s that time of year – and Portland Fire & Rescue is feeling the heat.

“We’re just starting to dry out and things are starting to get bad,” Lt. Damon Simmons said Wednesday. “We’ve noticed a lot more bark dust fires, grass fires, wildfires.”

Investigators said both early-morning fires Wednesday started outside. The blaze on Southeast 87th started in the grass before it spread to trees and then to the side of an apartment, and the fire along I-84 was reported around 8:30 a.m. and was quickly doused.

The cause of each fire remains under investigation.

Simmons said wildfires in the metro area are usually human-caused.

“It’s smokers’ carelessness, people not taking care with campfires (and) people not driving in the appropriate places,” Simmons said. “We need people vigilant and extra careful about the things they can avoid so we don’t have those fires that turn into bigger fires.”

Although Portland Fire & Rescue is ready for the increase of fire-related calls in the summer, multiple fire calls a day can stretch resources and make it more challenging to tackle smaller ones to stop them before they can grow. 

Simmons said people should not only be careful with fire, but also proactive.

“Keep your gutters clean, that’s a major cause of houses burning in wildfires,” Simmons said. “We want you to have a clear space, around 15 to 25 feet away from your house; that means keep your grass short, keep it watered.”

Open fires and outdoor burning is illegal in the city of Portland.

Fire officials also encourage people to use outdoor grills at least 25 feet away from structures. 

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