DOUGLAS COUNTY, Ore. — When you think of brush fires, maybe the first cause you think of is lightning. Maybe it’s someone being careless. But chances are, you wouldn’t blame animals.
Right before a fire started near Lookingglass Road, neighbors say they heard a loud pop, and then the power went out. Fire investigators say an electrocuted bird caused all the trouble.
“Interesting enough, it was caused by a bird that had landed on a transformer, was electrocuted, fell to the ground, and that bird that was on fire started the grass on fire,” said Oregon Department of Forest Service Spokesman Tom Fields.
And that loud pop was the bird too.
“That was the pop. It was him getting electrocuted,” said Kate Gardner.
The bird landed on Gardner’s property, causing a half-acre fire.
“It’s very, very scary. The wind was blowing away from the house originally, and then it switched within minutes coming towards the house,” said Gardner.
The Oregon Department of Forestry had crews nearby who were prepared for the call.
“Fortunately, our helicopter was already in the air and was diverted to that fire,” said Fields.
Neighbors say they felt reassured that the firefighters in the area are keeping them safe.
“The response from the DFPA and the Lookingglass fire department was fantastic. They were here before anything got out of hand, and it was breezy and it could have gone out of hand but they were here right away,” said neighbor Chuck Hanson.
But the Douglas Forest Protective Association (DFPA) wants to remind people that Mother Nature’s fury is unpredictable, and an animal hitting a power pole can happen again.
“It’s probably not a bad idea to go early in the morning with a weed eater, head trimmer type of thing and clear around that power pole,” said Fields.
This is the second fire in one week caused by an animal. Earlier this month, a squirrel came into contact with a transformer and caused a fire to burn an acre of land near Metz Hill.