Banks crews see busy spring weekend for wildfires

Published: May. 16, 2023 at 5:16 PM PDT
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BANKS, Ore. (KPTV) - The Banks Fire District said it doesn’t normally see this type of high wildfire danger this early. It has kept them busy with wildfires already.

Jeremy Wills and his daughter were out enjoying a trail in Washington County. But he said he also knows the weather can present wildfire risks.

“It has gotten kind of warm, and you definitely can feel the wind where it’s gotten dry,” Wills said.

Scott Adams with the Banks Fire District said you need to start thinking about wildfire risk now. The season is starting much earlier than normal.

“What normally would be able to handle a spark or some ashes drifting out into the woods or out into the brush this time of year is just not capable of it,” Adams said.

Firefighters in Banks saw this firsthand over the weekend. They responded to three wildfires within 24 hours, including one about two acres in forest land caused by downed power lines.

“This last weekend has seen several large wildfires,” Adams said. “We were on several burn piles that were out of control. We were on a wildfire up in the forest lands.”

SEE ALSO: Pacific Power, Portland General Electric share how people can prepare for wildfire season

Adams said you should be thinking about end-of-season fire conditions now. He said to be aware of what could start a fire and have defensible space around your home.

“We’re asking the public that’s out there not be burning those brush piles, not be burning those backyard burns,” he said.

Wills said for him, it’s time to start watching wildfire danger.

“You see the little signs in front of the fire stations,” he said. “They have the indicator, the marker of where to be concerned.”

Banks Fire said during the forest fire on Sunday, they had trouble with access because someone parked on the road to watch. They said if you’re ever near an emergency to clear the area for first responders.