Photo by Eric Emery
Fire broke out at the North Fork Park last Saturday afternoon as visitors picnicked and swam. The park was quickly evacuated and firefighters from Lyons, Gates and Stayton FD’s, as well as Oregon Department of Forestry responded, quickly containing the fire and diverting spread.
According to Michael Curran of ODF, the fire damaged a total of 1.2 acres and destroyed 15 trees. Several more trees had to be felled to prevent further spread.
“The wind was picking up and flames were 200 feet up into the tree canopy. We like to avoid felling trees when we can, but in this case it was necessary,” said Curran.
The fire was declared “out” as of Wednesday afternoon. The cause has not yet been determined, and no citations have been served, however witnesses report a man building a campfire in the park despite warning signs posted prohibiting such.