3-Alarm Fire Destroys Home Near Orondo
A home north of Orondo is a total loss from a three-alarm fire that started about 4:30pm Sunday.
The fire crews which first arrived on the scene at the Columbia River off of U.S. Hwy. 97 say they found a wind driven fire burning in arborvitaes up a steep hillside directly into a large home.
Douglas County District 4 Fire Chief Jim Oatey says 54 firefighters from seven fire agencies battled the fire, but couldn't save the home.
"We trucked in water using water tenders, but with the extreme winds and fuel loads from the arborvitaes, we were unable to extinguish the fire, and the house was at total loss," said Oatey.
One vehicle in the garage was also lost in the fire.
There were no injuries. An initial investigation found the fire spread from a controlled burn.
Oatey said the fire spread from the house onto adjacent land.
"It also spread into a wildland fire burning up and down the river bank, so we had to extinguish that also.
U.S. Hwy. 97 was closed while firefighters were on the scene. It took crews about five hours to put the fire out. It was extinguished by 9:30pm. A crew of firefighters remained on the scene all night as a precautionary measure.
Douglas County Fire District 4 is asking all homeowners to evaluate their home using Firewise criteria limiting burnables in radius of 30 feet and reduced fuels to 100 feet.
Oatey says arborvitae and juniper shrubs are a severe fire risk which can spread fire quickly with an extreme fuel load and should not be planted near residences.