BANDON — A fire that on North Bank Lane is considered 30% contained without further spread after burning approximately 350 acres since it erupted Tuesday.
Though witnesses have said the fire started from a downed power line due to the unusally high winds Tuesday, the cause is still under investigation by officials. The city of Bandon was not in danger from the fire at any time.
No one has been injured in the fire and only one structure burned, a woodworking and artist studio owned by Bandon residents Pete Bauer and Candace Kreitlow. The studio, located insaide a yurt, was located on Bauer's and Kreitlow's property just down the road from their residence, which was spared.
The roof of a barn in the area suffered some damage, and some damage was reported to another structure, both were saved by local firefighters and homeowners.
Homes and structures in the area are no longer threatened, according to Coos Forest Protective Association. Crews continue to work on containment lines and removing hazards. North Bank Lane is still closed from both the Bandon and Coquille sides and will remain closed for a couple more days, CFPA said.
Fire danger remains extreme, though along the coast a marine layer moved in Wednesday night and temperatures have cooled significantly, while winds have calmed, trapping smoke along the South Coast.
"The weather has made remarkable improvements, humidity is recovering at night," wrote Nils Storksen, staff forester for the Coos Forest Protective Association in an email Friday morning.
Storksen said Friday's firefigthing shift included all five 20-person contracted crews, five local industry water tenders and operators, one industry bulldozer, a 10-person crew from Shutter Creek Correctional Institution being managed by a crew boss from Coos Forest Protective Association, two CFPA six-person crews and five overhead.
Industry equipment are local companies that normally work in the timber industry and have agreements with CFPA to help on fires.
Saturday, three of the 20-person contracted crews will be in travel status to a new incident. CFPA will reduce water tenders and overhead to meet the needs of the remaining crews.
"We will assess daily and transition the remaining two 20-person crews ASAP," Storksen wrote. "There has been good progress made, many thanks to the support received from all the local resources and landowners."
On Wednesday night, crews laid the last trail and have been focused on mopping up around the fire, said Dominique Ray, CFPA business manager who was filling in for the agency's public information officer who was working the fire.
The helicopters worked throughout the day Tuesday and Wednesday and part of Thursday, but were set to be released, Ray said. The structure crews, including the Bandon Rural Fire Department and others had their last shift Wednesday after faciliating the protection of several homes in the area that were threatened by the blaze.
The firefighting effort will continue over the next several days as crews work toward mop-up objectives.
Most of the residents who either were told to leave or who self-evacuated have returned to their homes to find charred hillsides and ash.
Tuesday fire spread quickly
Crews from the Coos Forest Protective Association responded to the North Bank Lane fire around 11 a.m. Tuesday, according to CFPA dispatcher Robert Hancock. The fire was located about 8 miles on North Bank Lane, halfway between Coquille and Bandon.
Homes along Stargazer Lane were evacuated Tuesday. Several people who self-evacuated close to the fire Tuesday afternoon returned to their homes Tuesday night, while others stayed away.
Some homes in the area were being evacuated at the request of CFPA, according to Gabriel Fabrizio of the Coos County Sheriff's Office. Coos County deputies and Oregon State Police officers went house to house close to the fire to inform residents. The fire jumped the road and was burning on both sides, Fabrizio said.
Though there were concerns the fire had jumped the Coquille River from the strong east winds and started burning along state Highway 42S, there were no official reports of that happening. Bandon City Manager Dan Chandler reported on the city's official Facebook page that the fire was not headed toward Bandon.
Bandon Rural Fire Protection District Chief Lanny Boston later confirmed the fire had not jumped the river but warned that embers from the fire could become airborne and carried by the wind to other locations and ignite there.
Crews worked through the night Tuesday and Wednesday and continued to do so through at least Friday night, according to officials.