RICKREALL – A field fire in the 8000 block of Crowley Road near Rickreall briefly threatened homes Thursday before fire crews from multiple agencies were able to stop it.
Dallas Fire Chief Fred Hertel said the fire started Thursday afternoon when a gopher trapper was attempting to clean his traps in the field with a blow torch, sparking a blaze.
When firefighters arrived, the blaze had burnt about five acres of the previously harvested field. Due to changing winds, the fire burned 18 acres before crews could get a handle on it. Firefighters from Southwest Polk, Dallas, Polk No. 1, Amity and Oregon Department of Forestry responded to the blaze.
Hertel said firefighters at one point had to put surrounding homeowners on evacuation notice.
“The Polk County Sheriff’s Office was on scene and did an excellent job of taking care of the residents,” Hertel said. “We got it stopped before they needed to evacuate.”
With dry conditions persisting, Hertel asks people to be cautious when working in fields or in the forest this time of year.
“I think the forest service recommends taking 2.5 gallons of water and a shovel when going into the forest,” he said. “I think that is good (advice).”