August 22, 2019 06:05
At 10:20am Wednesday, North Portland Fire & Rescue crews were dispatched to several fires in close proximity to each other on the bluff just below the University of Portland. This location was close to the intersection of N Harvard and N Willamette. Firefighters found 4 separate fires ranging in size from 10x10ft to 100x200ft. The first arriving engine navigated to a spot where they could fight the most critical fire which reached with a couple feet of vehicles in a university parking lot.The closest building was 50 feet away but crews extinguished the fire before it could cause any damage to vehicles. Which also prevented spread to the nearby building. Familiarity with the area and training on fires like these on or near the bluff are one of the main reasons firefighters were able to extinguish so quickly. Dry brush and tree fuels, difficult sloped terrain and limited access for fire apparatus are complicating issues these crews deal with in fires located in areas like the University Bluff.
911 callers reported seeing someone walking down the trail and lighting brush and trees on fire with a butane lighter. One of the callers actually followed the person and pointed them out when the Portland Police Bureau arrived. The suspect was held for questioning by PF&R investigators. 38 year old Adrianne Esther Cook was arrested and later booked at Multnomah County Jail. She will be charged with 4 counts of Reckless Burning.
**Important Safety Reminder**
Many weeks of dry weather have made for dangerous fire conditions in our forested and brush areas. Recent rainfall has NOT significantly changed the issue. The moisture content in the vegetation is still low. Residents are reminded to be careful when enjoying nature, call 911 if you see someone acting recklessly with fire and pay attention to regional burn ban notifications.