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

Aug 4, 2016

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

A stretch of Neff Road damaged by this morning's fires.
Credit Dave Howe, Bend Fire Dept.

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.”  

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

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.