A small wildfire burning in the Tillamook State Forest is under investigation by authorities who believe it may have been caused by fireworks.
Fireworks are not permitted on state forestland, and the region entered fire season on June 22.
In a phone call with this publication, Oregon Department of Forestry Forest Grove District Forester Mike Cafferata said that the outlook on the fire, a series of blazes scattered over six acres, was good.
“We’re doing well on it,” he said, noting that crews were beginning to mop up the fire, located in the Drift Creek area in Tillamook County.
He said that the fire was called in by area recreation enthusiasts and mountain bikers Saturday afternoon.
In a Saturday evening press release, the Tillamook County Sheriff’s Office noted that the fire was expected to present minimal danger of spreading
“The ODF fire official on scene did not seem to be overly concerned about the fire spreading out of control, and told me that he expected it should be handled by morning,” said Tillamook County Sheriff Joshua Brown.
A few miles away what the Tillamook County Sheriff’s Office said was an “unsanctioned rave” presented a potential challenge for the law enforcement agency if the fire grew.
The law enforcement agency had been tapped by the ODF to aid in evacuations if needed.
“There was an unsanctioned, non-permitted rave event nearby and we estimated there were 50-60 vehicles and 200 people there,” said Brown. “There was no indication at that time that the fire was related to the gathering, but I suspect ODF will be doing a cause investigation.”
The group, said the sheriff’s office, ended the rave and left voluntarily, cleaning up the site and removing their trash before forest gates were closed after they left. No citations were issued.
ODF’s Cafferata indicated that fireworks were the likely cause, but did not say if the rave group were tied to the fire in any way.
“Please leave your fireworks at home this year so we won’t have a repeat of last year’s fire season,” said Brown.