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Law enforcement officers in county carry 'bladder bags' for when they are first-responders at wildfires.

SUBMITTED PHOTO - Firefighters ensure that a wildfire, started by a semitruck brake part, is dead out north of Madras, along U.S. Highway 97. A deputy was first at the scene and knocked down the flames before firefighters arrived.As they patrol county roads, sometimes, law enforcement personnel are the first on the scene at fires along Jefferson County roads. That was the case Monday morning, when deputy Jon Adkins, of the Jefferson County Sheriff's Office, was the first to arrive at a brush fire on U.S. Highway 97, about 10 miles north of Madras.

Fortunately, the Jefferson County Fire District issues "bladder bags" — backpacks with about 5 gallons of water and a nozzle to spray fire — to law enforcement officers during summer months, and Adkins was able to use the water to knock down flames.

"(Adkins) used all of the bladder bag's water to stop the growth of the fire and actively monitored the fire's perimeter from the black, while the brush truck deployed reel lines around the fire," said Kirk Hagman, of the JCFD. "The deputy stopped the fire just short of three juniper trees that might have got involved without the deputy's assistance."

The fire, located on U.S. Highway 97, at milepost 83, was about 50 by 50 feet, Hagman said, "and by the time that we arrived on scene, (Adkins) had put out all of the active flames ..."

"The fire was caused by hot brake parts that broke off of a semitruck and landed in the dry grass on the side of the road," said Fire Chief Brian Huff, noting that the fire department sent two wildland trucks and the Bureau of Land Management also sent two units to finish extinguishing the fire.

"This has been an exceptional partnership between agencies," said Huff, who ensures that law enforcement officers from both JCSO and the Madras Police Department have the bladder bags. "There have been several fires kept very small due to law enforcement getting there before firefighters and getting water on the fire before it was able to grow. This is another example of that."

No other property was damaged and no buildings were threatened.


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