At approximately 9:49 a.m. on August 14, a person called 911 after seeing visible flames from a fire in a field near a pond near Hwy. 99 and McDougal Lane. Eugene Springfield Fire responded, along with Eugene Police, as a man was reported to be feeding the fire. Eugene Springfield addressed the fire and Eugene Police contacted and arrested the suspect, 41-year-old Guy Vernon Aiken, for Disorderly Conduct. Aiken was found to have started and then was actively maintaining a large bonfire in a wooded area.
According to Eugene Springfield Fire, most brush and grass fires are caused by humans and are preventable. Here are a few ways you can prevent these types of fires:
- Keep vehicles off dry grass. Sparks and high temperatures from exhausts can cause dry grass to catch fire.
- Dispose of smoking materials in a fire-proof container and make sure they've gone out. Do NOT toss them on the ground or out of a moving vehicle.
- Check the weather conditions before mowing your lawn or using other yardwork tools. Low humidity, high temperatures, and wind can contribute to the spread of brush and grass fires. Blades and chains can easily spark a fire if they hit a rock.
- Never walk away from a cooking fire. Make sure your propane tank grills are closed and turned off when you're done cooking and carefully dispose of hot charcoal. Make sure to douse charcoal with water.
Western Lane Fire District is currently in Extreme Fire Danger Level, which includes a prohibition on many outdoor activities, including any type of campfire. Due to other large wildland fires currently burning in Oregon, firefighting resources are already stretched thin and may be very limited in their ability to respond to additional fires.
Eugene Police Case 23-12048