Philomath Fire and Rescue had a busy stretch Thursday afternoon with responses to separate incidents, the local fire agency reported.
Firefighters were called at 3:14 p.m. Sept. 21 to a report of a fire that had ignited in a field near Hurlburt Road, which is located about 20 miles southeast of Philomath and 16 miles north of Monroe. The fire was estimated at 4 acres in size and was contained to the field.
Philomath Fire and Rescue’s Rich Saalsaa, deputy fire chief and public information officer, said the fire appears to have started when the blades of machinery cutting grass hit a rock to cause a spark.
Monroe Rural Fire took over control of the scene with Fire Chief Chris Barnes as incident commander. Philomath Fire and Rescue sent a brush truck and Fire Chief Chancy Ferguson as a duty officer. The Monroe response included two brush trucks. A tender from the Corvallis Fire Department and a brush truck from the Junction City Fire and Rescue started to respond but were canceled before arriving.
Saalsaa said several power poles were impacted during the fire and Consumers Power Inc. was notified.
“We remind our residents that while cooler temperatures are with us, there is still fire danger until we receive several days of significant rain,” Saalsaa said. “We are in moderate fire danger conditions and while there are no restrictions currently, a water source should be available during harvesting and mowing operations.”
The incident occurred in between the Philomath and Monroe fire districts in an area known to firefighters as the Greenberry Gap. As a result, the property owner could be billed for the response.
Fire near the railroad tracks
Less than two hours earlier, Philomath firefighters responded at 1:33 p.m. Thursday to a report from a local property owner of spot fires along the railroad tracks in an area near Daisy Drive northwest of Philomath.
Philomath Fire and Rescue extinguished the fire with a brush truck and turned the scene over to the Oregon Department of Forestry, who also responded with a brush truck. The railroad company also sent its own fire crew to the site.
“We see this sometimes in the summer months as the brake shoes on the rail cars get worn and heat up, sometimes seizing and causing small spot fires from sparks,” Saalsaa said. “This particular line has a 25-mph speed limit, so the spread is more contained.”