Fire caused by illegal burn pile at Willowdale Road home; blaze consumed 7 acres before it was finally put out

LON AUSTIN - A brush fire near Willowdale Road consumed 7 acres on Wednesday evening.

Dried grasses crackled as the wind drove the flames of a brush fire southward and up a nearby hill near Willowdale Road early Wednesday evening.

Occasionally, a juniper tree or two caught fire, causing flames to climb high into view behind neighborhood homes less than 50 feet away.

Some neighbors grabbed garden hoses and sprayed what little bit of the growing blaze they could until Crook County emergency personnel arrived on scene. Others checked on neighboring residences to make sure they were out of their homes just in case the fire moved down the hill.

Crook County Fire and Rescue arrived on scene around 4:50 p.m., according to reports, with four engines and one water tender along with resources from the Oregon Department of Forestry, BLM and the Forest Service. Together, they were able to keep the fire to 7 acres, and nobody was injured and no structures were lost.

CCFR determined that the fire was caused by an illegal open burn pile that the wind blew out of control.

This marks the second time in less than a year that a brush fire has erupted on the hill that originated from a Willowdale Road residence. Last September, an explosion on a property a few blocks east of where Wednesday's fire started ignited the hill and it quickly spread, threatening homes off of Paulina Highway near the edge of town.

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