SEVERE WX : Fire Weather Watch View Alerts
STREAMING NOW: Watch Now

Brookings Couple Starts to Rebuild after Chetco Bar Fire

NewsWatch 12's Sionan Barrett finds out why one Brookings couple says the forest service mismanaged this fire which lead to the loss of their home.

Posted: Jul 10, 2018 1:58 PM
Updated: Jul 11, 2018 12:23 AM

BROOKINGS, Ore. — Nearly a year after the Chetco Bar Fire started from a lightning strike and threatened to burn down Brookings, the community is still rebuilding. 

The Chetco Bar Fire was reported on July 12, 2017, burning in the 2002 Biscuit Fire and 1987 Silver Fire scars located in the Kalmiopsis Wilderness in Southwest Oregon.

Firefighters responded with the intent to suppress the fire, but the steep, rugged terrain and thick brush with heavy dead and downed trees made conditions unsafe.

After 24 hours of attempting direct suppression tactics, firefighters pulled back to take an indirect approach. The fire grew to burn down 190,000 acres. 

Today if you driv eup Gardner Ridge Road, you'll see piles of burnt trees getting logged and charred cars. 

Cecilia Worlton says describes the drive up to her house like, "It's a bomb that goes off, the bomb went off and we lost everything and we were just kind of drifting and just functioning."

Nine miles up the road, you'll see the Worlton's welcome sign seemingly untouched by the flames that swept up their drive way.

Cecilia's husband Layne says, "Losing a home very much it would fall in line with losing a loved one, it's devastating."

The Forest Service says it lit new burns to redirect the fire from homes and businesses. But still 6 homes and 20 minor structures burned down on Gardner Ridge and Cate Road. 

Cecilia says, "We felt nobody, nobody responded to us up there. Not city not county, no one not even state."

The terrain of the fire proved difficult for boots on the ground to attack while staying safe, so by the time flames reached the ridge and homes their focus was saving lives, not property.

The Worlton's still say the fire could have been prevented.  

Layne says, "During that period of time we had the Forest Service driving the roads constantly, yet no structure protection at all, very disgusted with the Forest Service."

Cecilia and Layne tell me they retired the day the fire started. Weeks later, they lost their home.

Cecilia says, "I mean he's been working every day, every day since the fire. And he supposed to be retired, and he's not getting any younger, so it's getting harder."

Now the couple has joined a grassroots group to look into the fire and take matters into their own hands in case another half acre fire sprouts up near their homes. 

For the Forest Service's timeline of the Chetco Bar Fire, click the image below.

Oregon Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 31865

Reported Deaths: 539
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Multnomah7022136
Marion456992
Washington441759
Umatilla293941
Clackamas234661
Malheur158926
Jackson11094
Lane109616
Deschutes79312
Yamhill75013
Jefferson5218
Polk51515
Linn49513
Morrow4946
Lincoln47613
Union4392
Benton2946
Klamath2792
Wasco2793
Hood River2490
Douglas2244
Josephine1952
Columbia1551
Coos1490
Clatsop1310
Baker922
Crook621
Tillamook510
Curry310
Lake290
Wallowa281
Sherman180
Harney120
Grant90
Gilliam80
Unassigned00
Wheeler00

California Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 799516

Reported Deaths: 15393
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Los Angeles2644146455
Riverside578831179
San Bernardino53359918
Orange526221182
San Diego45596773
Kern31712360
Fresno28019362
Sacramento21872399
Alameda20951397
Santa Clara20756304
San Joaquin20126437
Stanislaus16436345
Contra Costa16238204
Tulare15829259
Ventura12591146
Imperial11741317
San Francisco1094699
San Mateo9714144
Monterey970170
Santa Barbara8973113
Merced8828140
Kings756977
Sonoma7262120
Marin6641114
Solano627863
Madera445865
Placer353544
San Luis Obispo347929
Butte279043
Yolo278255
Santa Cruz22949
Sutter168911
Napa165313
San Benito132111
Yuba11367
El Dorado10884
Mendocino89418
Shasta75916
Lassen7360
Glenn5713
Tehama5334
Lake53011
Nevada5286
Colusa5246
Humboldt4967
Calaveras31414
Amador29616
Tuolumne2274
Inyo18715
Mono1652
Siskiyou1630
Del Norte1381
Mariposa752
Plumas500
Modoc250
Trinity150
Sierra60
Alpine20
Unassigned00
Medford
Overcast
68° wxIcon
Hi: 68° Lo: 56°
Feels Like: 68°
Brookings
Overcast
60° wxIcon
Hi: 64° Lo: 57°
Feels Like: 60°
Crater Lake
Broken Clouds
68° wxIcon
Hi: 62° Lo: 49°
Feels Like: 68°
Grants Pass
Overcast
53° wxIcon
Hi: 72° Lo: 56°
Feels Like: 53°
Klamath Falls
Broken Clouds
68° wxIcon
Hi: 70° Lo: 47°
Feels Like: 68°
Spotty afternoon showers
KDRV Radar
KDRV Fire Danger
KDRV Weather Cam

Community Events

Latest Video

Image

Shawna Huggins of Phoenix

Image

Friday, September 25 afternoon weather

Image

Friday, September 25 morning weather

Image

Happy Camp Hero

Image

New multi-agency resource center opened in Medford

Image

Thursday, September 24th Evening Weather

Image

Community of Happy Camp begins recovery after Slater Fire destruction

Image

Thursday, September 24 afternoon weather

Image

Thursday, September 24 morning weather

Image

LCC K9 MINISTRY SENDS COMFORT DOGS TO JACKSON COUNTY