The lesson that wildfires can also pose a threat to urban areas was brought home to some residents in the Heights on Wednesday.
As temperatures hovered around 100 degrees, a blaze broke out shortly after 4 p.m. in a vacant lot just east of Pacific Northwest Federal Credit Union. Emergency responders immediately received numerous telephone calls from worried residents along Pacific Avenue.
City and county law enforcement officials arrived at the scene first and used a fire extinguisher to contain the fast-moving flames. The Hood River Fire Department then moved in to suppress the blaze which had burned a 50-by-150-foot swath through the dry grass.
Firefighter Devon Wells said the cause of the fire is undetermined. He said in the current dry conditions it could have been started by something as simple as refracted glass.
“It doesn’t take much right now to start a fire so we all need to be very careful about our activities, especially in fields of grass or wilderness,” he said.
Because wildfires can start anywhere there is fuel, Wells said homeownwers — especially those living in heavily vegetated areas — should create a safety barrier around their dwellings by keeping the yard watered.
A total burn ban is currently in effect for Hood River County and Wells said it will not be lifted until enough rain has fallen to reduce the current hazardous conditions.
He said homeowners wanting more information about protecting their property are welcome to call the Hood River Fire Department at 386-3939.