News Release from Oregon Dept. of Forestry
Posted on FlashAlert: July 29th, 2016 2:47 PM
One year ago, a careless act sparked a wildfire near the community of Milo that changed the course of the summer for firefighters, community members and landowners. Multiple homes in the path of the fire were evacuated as the fire went on to burn thousands of acres of timberland and critical wildlife habitat. This fire became known as the Stouts Creek Fire.
Fire investigators working on the Stouts Creek Fire determined that the fire was human caused and related to an individual mowing dry grass. Investigators discovered that the responsible party violated the Public Use Fire Restrictions by mowing dry grass during prohibited hours. Under Oregon law, those found to be willful, malicious, or negligent in the cause and spread of a wildfire are liable for the complete cost of suppressing the fire. Because of this, the Oregon Department of Forestry will be billing the responsible party for the cost of suppressing the Stouts Creek Fire, which is estimated in excess of $37 million.
“It’s critical that everyone living, working or recreating in wildland areas know and follow the Public Use Fire Restrictions that are in place throughout the summer,” said Melvin Thornton, district manager for the Douglas Forest Protective Association.
“Individuals that are found to be in violation of the regulations will be cited and if a fire results from their actions, they may be held liable for all fire suppression costs,” he said.
Currently, Public Use Fire Restrictions are in effect throughout the entire Douglas District and include restrictions on mowing dry grass, non-industrial chainsaw use, the cutting, grinding and welding of metal, off road driving, campfires, debris burning, fireworks, smoking, and electrical fence controllers. State law also prohibits the use of exploding targets, tracer ammunition and sky lanterns during fire season. For a detailed list of restrictions, visit www.dfpa.net or call DFPA’s 24-hour information line at 541-672-0379.
The Stouts Creek Fire ignited on July 30, 2015, and went on to burn 26,452 acres of private, BLM, and National Forest lands.