At around 5:30 p.m. on Monday, September 7, severe winds began to impact TVF&R’s service area resulting in several downed trees and power lines starting brush and structure fires. At the busiest time, firefighters were working at the scenes of 10 different fires simultaneously.
At 9:40 p.m., TVF&R activated its Fire Operations Center to support incidents, increase staffing, and plan for additional surges. A liaison was sent to the Washington County Consolidated Communications Agency (911 center) to help prioritize incident response.
The most significant incidents from September 7 are summarized below.
Time: 5:39 p.m.
Location: 26000 block of Southwest McConnell Road, Sherwood
Situation: One-alarm brush fire in dense vegetation threatening a home. Fire burning in two locations.
Outcome: Firefighters knocked the fire down in 30 minutes and prevented damage to structures.
Time: 8:29 p.m.
Location: 2000 block of Southwest Childs Road, Clackamas County (near West Linn)
Situation: One-alarm vegetation fire spread to a wood pile and adjacent barn.
Outcome: Firefighters knocked the fire down within 25 minutes and saved the barn, which sustained only minor damage to the siding.
Time: 8:58 p.m.
Location: 28000 block of Northeast Wilsonville Road, Wilsonville
Situation: Two-alarm vegetation fire spread to chicken coop and adjacent home.
Outcome: The fast-moving fire destroyed the home, chicken coop, and approximately a quarter-acre of trees, brush, and grass. The residents were able to safely escape without injury. Firefighters rescued their four dogs. One dog was injured and given oxygen by firefighter paramedics on scene.
Time: 9:18 p.m.
Location: 25000 block of Southwest Petes Mountain Road
Situation: Two-alarm, fast-moving brush fire in trees and dry grass threatening multiple homes.
Outcome: After three hours of intense firefighting, firefighters controlled the fire. They were able to protect all threatened homes. They remain at the scene and will likely work through Tuesday afternoon to extinguish hot spots.
Firefighters had to shuttle water to every fire since they occurred in areas without hydrants. Responders described fire behavior similar to what they’ve experienced in major wildfires in Oregon and California.
TVF&R was assisted by Hillsboro Fire & Rescue, Portland Fire & Rescue, Lake Oswego Fire Department, Aurora Fire District, Dundee Fire & Rescue, and Carlton Fire District.
There are many people in the Northwest who live in areas considered a wildland-urban interface, where homes are nestled among fields, forests, and natural spaces.
If you live in one of these areas, please consider taking steps to make your home more defensible if a fire occurs.
- Maintain a 30-foot safety zone around your home to remove leaves, brush, and other combustibles.
- Clear debris from your gutters and underneath decks and crawlspaces.
- Mow and water lawns and other green belts regularly.
- De-limb trees at least 10 feet up from the ground.
- Plant low-growing, fire-resistant plants (groundcover, perennials, and annuals) near your home.
- Homeowners should also keep access in mind for large fire trucks.
- Long driveways should be at least 12 feet wide, have 10 feet of vegetation clearance from the centerline out, and about 14 feet overhead.
- Large vehicle turnaround areas are critical for your safety as well as firefighter safety.