On the afternoon of July 31, firefighters responded to reports of smoke near West Linn High School. First-arriving crews from TVF&R's Bolton & Willamette stations arrived at the Camassia Nature Preserve to find a brush fire burning adjacent I -205 near the Highway 43 exit. Within 15 minutes, fire commanders called for a 2nd alarm to provide additional personnel and resources. At 1:39pm, the incident was briefly upgraded to a 3rd alarm, but crews were recalled a short while later.
For several hours, firefighters contended with steep rocky terrain, dense brush, and poison oak while trying to control and extinguish the fire which burned approximately 2.5 acres. Their aggressive efforts kept the fire from spreading to homes bordering the Preserve.
Traffic on I-205 was congested during the afternoon as drivers slowed to see smoke and flames cresting on a southeast bluff. A plume of light brown smoke could be seen from Wilsonville and southeast Portland.
Nearly 40 personnel from TVF&R, Lake Oswego Fire Department, Clackamas Fire District #1, and Portland Fire & Rescue worked together to contain and extinguish the fire. West Linn Police Department provided additional support.
A fire investigator extensively analyzed burn patterns and collected evidence but couldn't determine the exact cause of the fire. Several ignition sources were found, including discarded cigarettes. In addition to the health risks, improperly discarded smoking materials can damage homes and cause deveastating wildfires. The best option for ensuring complete extinguishment of smoking materials is to smother them with water in a sturdy, non-combustible container.