Crews battled fire in Clackamas County as temperatures soared Monday

A fire broke out around 7 a.m. Monday morning near Sandy in Clackamas County between Southeast Lusted Road and the Sandy River
Published: Aug. 14, 2023 at 10:44 PM PDT
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SANDY Ore. (KPTV) - A fire broke out around 7 a.m. Monday morning near Sandy in Clackamas County between Southeast Lusted Road and the Sandy River. As crews battled the flames, they also dealt with soaring temperatures as it reached triple digits by the afternoon.

“Today was a red flag warning,” said Dillon Neumann, a Permit Forest Officer ODF for the North Cascade District & Incident Commander for the Blue Jay Fire “It is the hottest day of the summer. It got to 106 degrees. We were having a north wind with gusts of 20-30 miles an hour so that was my first red flag responding to this.”

See Also: Crews responding to fire along Sandy River

“We are taking plenty of breaks. We have a lot of water down there, but it’s slow going when there’s heat like this. That was why I ordered air resources early, so we could get some water on the fire before we went hands on, just so we could protect our firefighters safety.”

Officials described the Blue Jay Fire as a complex incident.

“It’s pretty rough terrain, really remote and hard to access,” Lt Jared Hanna, with Sandy Fire Rescue 371 said. “There’s a trailhead here and it’s about a mile-long hike in. Very steep terrain, we even had to repel down using a rope for a steep part of the walk down so it’s been difficult getting crews and equipment down there.”

The fire prompted a Level One ‘Be Ready’ evacuation for the are between 37135 Lusted Road to 38328 Lusted Road and the Sandy River.

“It was a little nerve wracking, especially since there is nothing between us and the river but brush,” William Warren, a nearby homeowner said. “We have our trailer. We keep certain things loaded in case we needed to get out of here. We had a similar situation with the fires a few years ago. We hopped in the trailer and stayed in Gresham at the community college there for a few nights.”

The Warrens woke up to smoke Monday morning; the fire was around a mile from their home.

See Also: Cat, dog rescued during 2nd alarm fire in King neighborhood

“Right by our house,” Erica Warren said. “It’s just a little bit scary you know? Just be safe and smart out there when it’s hot.”

Officials say they were able to line and contain the fire, with the Level One evacuation lifted around 6 p.m. Monday evening. Some will remain overnight to monitor the fire, with an investigator and additional resources planning on returning Tuesday morning.

“The big thing is just staying out of the area for the time being,” Neumann said. “We know this is a known spot to go swimming, but let’s stay out of here for a few days. There’s still a lot of work to do on it.”

The cause of the fire remains under investigation.