CENTRAL POINT, Ore. -- Fire season is over for Oregon but its effects still linger. 100 Jewett Elementary School students toured the area where the Peninger fire burned along the greenway and saw the kind of impact it still has on that land.
The Peninger Fire burned more than 100 acres, putting many homes in dangers and causing level 3 or go evacuation orders shortly after it began. 5th grader Lilly Pool will never forget where she was when that fire started.
"I was at McDonalds where my mom works and we saw a lot of smoke. When my mom got off we went home and turned on the news. We saw a lot of fire. I was actually kind of scared because we almost had to evacuate. We were on two," Pool added.
Monday, Pool and all of her classmates were able to see what came out of all the smoke she saw this summer. Much of that area around the Bear Creek Greenway is now charred and black. Local fire, law enforcement and soil and water conservationists showed the students the devastating effects fire can have on an environment. They also learned about the different types of plants that help or hurt a fire from spreading.
“We think kids are the future. It's harder and harder to get into the homes with adults and have adults come to presentations after work because our lives are so hectic. The 5th grade seems to be a good group to educate. They understand the concepts really well and we expect them to go back home and teach their parents the same thing," said Fire District 3’s Ashley Blakely.
They reinforced the idea that fires can happen anywhere at any time and can sometimes be all too close to home.
"Seeing the burnt it’s actually kind of sad. This could be human caused on purpose and that makes me really sad," Pool said.
Investigators know it was human caused but what exactly started it is still open and under investigation.
There are plans in the works to have a similar 'self-guided' tour available to the public sometime in November.