Brushfire at Springwater Trail, below Ross Island Sand & Gravel
Neighbors who saw smoke and licks of fire leaping up behind the Ross Island Sand & Gravel parking lot in the late afternoon hours of July 24 were concerned – as were workers at the plant itself.
At 6:24 p.m. Portland Fire & Rescue (PF&R) dispatched units to an approximately 100 x 100 foot square blazing hillside area along the Springwater Trail, accessing it via a private unimproved road down behind the plant's parking area off of S.E. McLoughlin Boulevard.
Firefighters from Westmoreland Station 20 began battling the blaze, aided by other rigs – drawing first from their own 1,000 gallon onboard tank, until a water tender arrived to provide an additional supply.
The crews were aided by a powerful stream of water shot from the turret of a fire boat in the Willamette River. "The steep terrain made this fire attack difficult for land crews, and the fire boat was very valuable," commented a PF&R official.
Just before 7 p.m. the fire was declared out; but crews remained some time longer to make sure all hot spots had been extinguished.
There is no official word about what caused the blaze; neighbors watching the firefighting said that – because the Springwater Trail is closed to the south, in Oaks Bottom – they suspect it may have been started accidently by transients.
You count on us to stay informed and we depend on you to fund our efforts. Quality local journalism takes time and money. Please support us to protect the future of community journalism.