Klamath County Fire District 1 says people were burning the plastic off of metal wires in a burn barrel, which is an illegal activity prohibited year round. Fire investigators say the burn barrel was rusted out and an ember likely fell to the ground and started the fire.
The total monetary damages is estimated at $400,000. The fire was reported on the 3500 block of Cortez Street at about 6 p.m. in the evening.
The crew’s closest water supply was across Highway 66, which caused a closure for about 8 hours. Due to high temperatures, winds, and limited access to a water supply, the fire quickly spread to nearby properties. Klamath County Fire District 1 reported multiple explosions that occurred during the event caused by ammunition, oxygen tanks and aerosol cans. No persons were injured as a result of this incident.
In the end, fire officials say two homes were destroyed; firefighters said they are a total loss. At least three travel trailers, two motor vehicles and several out-building were also a total loss. Fire District 1 said one other home received moderate damage from intense heat but was not destroyed. Fire officials said two families were displaced and they are being assisted by American Red Cross.
Klamath County Fire District 1 reports the case has been turned over to the City of Klamath Falls Police department for possible prosecution.
Pictures provided by Klamath County Fire District 1.