After community escapes fires during hot weekend, blaze ignites south of Holley Monday

Sean C. Morgan

While temperatures reached at least 105 degrees in Sweet Home last week, the Sweet Home area had no wildland fire calls until after a cooling period that started Sunday.

Monday morning, though, approximately .12 acre burned on Crescent Hill southwest of Holley.

Sweet Home Fire and Ambulance District, with four pieces of apparatus, and the Oregon Department of Forestry Sweet Home Unit, with six pieces of apparatus, responded at approximately 10 a.m. to a small fire that started in a ditch.

They rapidly extinguished the fire, and ODF remained on scene for mop-up and to complete a fire line.

Sweet Home Unit Forester Craig Pettinger said investigators were unable to determine a cause. A driver passing by reported the small fire.

Relative humidity was 67 percent at the time, Pettinger said, and that rules out a cigarette causing the fire.

This was the first call since a power line failure on Aug. 12 started a field fire off Pleasant Valley Road and knocked out power to Sweet Home and surrounding communities.

“We didn’t even have so much as a fire call,” Pettinger said, not even complaints about things like neighbors mowing.

With the cooling over the weekend, “we’re a lot better,” Pettinger said, in terms of fire conditions. He expected Tuesday to continue, but after that temperatures should rise until dropping again at the end of the week.

It won’t be as hot as last week, with the highs hitting in the mid to high 90s, he said. After that, “I hope it stays benign. Temperatures are supposed to moderate. There’s no big moisture system sitting out there.”

He doesn’t see lightning or rain, Pettinger said, but the weather should start gradually cooling as the nights get longer.