Fire crews hold destructive fire on 39-acre NE edge of Bend | Local & State


Kathy Mathison’s three curly-haired dogs were the first thing in the car on Saturday night.

While she was loading them, her husband, James, was preparing their important papers.

When they had looked out the kitchen window a few minutes earlier, they had seen thick black smoke rising from the north. It was the fire that would later close US Highway 97 for hours and force the evacuation of the Mathisons and their neighbors to the Four Seasons Mobile Home Park, where they have lived together for six years.

The two spent the night with a family member and returned to their neighborhood on Sunday morning. They discovered that the flames had not quite reached their house, but a nearby shed was charred and the ashes had damaged the awning of the house.

“It’s an absolute miracle there,” said Kathy Mathison, pointing to a neighbor’s propane tank that had been charred on the outside but had not burned. “You never think it’s going to happen to you.”

On Sunday, residents of the old evacuated area returned to assess the damage from the Juniper Ridge fire to the area northeast of Cooley Road. The fire destroyed acres of cars at a demolition site and charred a few structures, but no houses were destroyed and no injuries were reported.

By Monday, crews had contained the spread of the fire to an area of ​​39 acres and continued to tackle hot spots and smoke inside the containment line. Community members can expect to see smoke for the next five to seven days, but Bend Fire & Rescue spokesperson Trish Connolly said there was no fear the fire does not spread.

Firefighters concluded Sunday afternoon that a Class A motorhome caused the fire when it came into contact with grass or brush, according to a statement from Bend Fire & Rescue.

B&R Auto Wrecking sustained heavy damage as a result of the fire. Acres of vehicles have been turned into skeletons, with molten windshields on steering wheel frames and molten metal littering the ground in now hardened pools.

“It’s charred pretty well,” said Matt Sprauge, the store manager.

Sprauge learned of the fire around 4 p.m. Saturday. At that time, it was not yet on company property, but just north of it. Soon, however, the flames engulfed rows of cars, forcing firefighters to warn surrounding residents to keep windows closed to avoid smoke.

Cars smoldered overnight – on Sunday some rooms were still smoking and small fires broke out on the grounds. Store managers who inspected the damage on Sunday were not yet sure how much of their 18-acre lot’s inventory was lost in the blaze.

However, the home of a nearby employee and the store buildings, a few meters from the rows of burned cars, were rescued and no employees were caught in the blaze.

“The inventory is replaceable,” said Matt Phillips, B&R North Regional Manager. “It’s a setback, but it could be a lot worse.”

Now, says Phillips, the company continues to examine the damage and find a way to reopen.

With a large wooden fence completely burnt out, the Mathisons house opens directly onto the B&R land. Charred trees nearby indicate that the flames stopped just before touching the family’s property.

“I think we’ve had the worst,” Kathy Mathison said of the mobile home park. Other properties had burned trees, but the couple’s shed and some belongings were set in flames, and a vent in the house melted.

James and Kathy Mathison, married for 47 years, had the help of several of their children on Sunday. Given the damage to their home’s ventilation system, they are not sure they can stay in the house without serious repairs.

“I cried all night,” said Kristin Anderson, the Mathisons daughter. “It was scary.”

The family had been encouraging the two to leave the park for some time, according to Anderson.

“Looks like God might have made our decision for us,” said Kathy.

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Several mobile home parks near the Juniper Ridge fire were ordered to evacuate the Deschutes County Sheriff’s Office on Saturday.

Notification goes through the Deschutes Alert System, which is used for all kinds of emergencies in Deschutes County, as well as Crooked River Ranch and Camp Sherman.

The system calls all landlines in an affected area, but it requires registration for cell phones to be notified.

The system asks you to specify an address, and you will only receive notifications related to that address. Alerts include evacuations, natural disasters, and missing or endangered children.

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