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Wildfire spreads quick at KRP

Of the Keizertimes

A quick containment effort by the Keizer Fire District helped douse a fast-spreading wildfire in the northwest corner of Keizer Rapids Park Thursday, July 17.

Members of the Keizer Police Department were performing a transient sweep in the area, about 12:35 p.m., when one of them called in a 40-foot blaze that was growing quickly. Keizer Fire District arrived on the scene within eight minutes, and were only slightly delayed while figuring out a plan of attack.

By 1 p.m., KFD had the flames mostly extinguished, but the blaze was not officially declared under control until 3:45 p.m. Crews cleared the park by 5:30 p.m. and continued to monitor the area through the evening and following day.

A Polaris Ranger quick attack vehicle and crew douse spreading flames. (KEIZERTIMES/Eric A. Howald)

The cause will likely remain unknown because the site of origin was damaged by multiple vehicles trying to access the flames.

KFD Deputy Fire Marshal Anne-Marie Storms said access and water supply were the two biggest challenges the crews faced.

“It’s a long trek to get to the fire and we couldn’t get a water tender as close as we would have preferred. Each time the brush trucks needed water they had to leave the fire area to refill, this all adds extra time to suppressing the fire,” Storms said.

However, recently purchased equipment – the result of a bond passed by voters – made a huge impact, she said.

A brush truck that can carry 400 gallons of water aided the effort, and Polaris Ranger 6×6 that carries 100 gallons of water was able to access trails and traverse the rougher parts of the terrain.

Storms added that a burn ban is in effect until further notice because of extreme fire danger.

“This burn ban includes recreational fires including backyard fire pits, tiki torches, fireworks and outdoor fireplaces,” she said.