Preliminary findings from the investigation into the Juniper Creek Fire, which ignited on August 20, 2023, point to target shooting as the cause of the blaze. The Oregon Department of Forestry (ODF) acted quickly to contain the fire at 106 acres, thanks in part to the responsible party’s rapid response and a timely 911 call.
The individual responsible for the incident had taken several safety precautions while engaging in target shooting on their property. However, despite these precautions, a fragment from a bullet is believed to have ignited the dry vegetation, which caught fire due to the extremely dry conditions.
“This is a great learning opportunity to show that no matter how many precautions you take, you can still accidentally start a wildfire,” emphasized Ben Duda, Sisters Wildland Fire Supervisor. “We’re grateful that the responsible party reacted quickly and called 911. Without that fast reporting, ODF wouldn’t have been able to catch the fire as quickly and keep it small.”
ODF is taking this incident as a reminder to the public that the risk of wildfires remains high across the state, even with cooler weather. Oregon has not yet seen any season-ending changes in weather conditions. Therefore, it’s crucial to avoid engaging in activities that could potentially start a wildfire.
In case anyone discovers a fire, ODF emphasizes the importance of not hesitating to call 911. Swift reporting leads to quick response, aiding in keeping wildfires small and manageable.