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Rash Of Morning Fires in Bend Likely Caused By Clueless Driver, Old Vehicle

Dave Howe, Bend Fire Dept.

Fire officials say 10 small brush fires set along a Bend area road this morning were caused by a faulty car part.

Dave Howe is Battalion Chief of the Bend Fire Department.  He says crews responded to the string of fires set along Neff Road across from a middle school.  Access was closed for an hour and a half.

Howe says a motorist was probably driving a car between 15 and 30 years old, with poor maintenance.

“This person was driving along in the morning, about 8:15 or so, probably just going to work," says Howe.  

"And they had a bad catalytic converter which started spewing out exceptionally hot pieces of material…it gets to be about 1600 degrees.  In Bend, our grass is extremely dry right now and any spark or high temperature piece of material can easily ignite a grass fire.”  

Credit Dave Howe, Bend Fire Dept.
A piece of a catalytic converter found at the site of the fires, which Bend Fire Dept. officials say caused them.

No one was hurt in the fires, and the only damage was to several fences. 

Howe says it’s always good to keep your car upgraded, and also to avoid parking in tall, grassy areas.  If you’re hauling trailers, it’s also good to keep the chains from dragging across the pavement.   

Brian Bull is an assistant professor of journalism at the University of Oregon, and remains a contributor to the KLCC news department. He began working with KLCC in June 2016.   In his 27+ years as a public media journalist, he's worked at NPR, Twin Cities Public Television, South Dakota Public Broadcasting, Wisconsin Public Radio, and ideastream in Cleveland. His reporting has netted dozens of accolades, including four national Edward R. Murrow Awards (22 regional),  the Ohio Associated Press' Best Reporter Award, Best Radio Reporter from  the Native American Journalists Association, and the PRNDI/NEFE Award for Excellence in Consumer Finance Reporting.
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