BEND, Ore. (AP) — A reward for information about who’s responsible for a 10-square-mile, human-caused wildfire near Bend has grown to $26,500 after a suspicious blaze broke out nearby on Tuesday in an area closed to the public.
That new fire was quickly extinguished by helicopter and engine crews after burning a quarter acre, Deschutes County Sheriff Larry Blanton said.
Sheriff’s Capt. Shane Nelson announced the new reward total late Wednesday afternoon.
“Given the fact this latest fire is suspicious and human-caused, we need the persons responsible located and held accountable,” Blanton said in a statement. “Our community has endured trauma as a result of this fire and the taxpayers have been burdened by its cost.”
The Two Bulls Fire was 55 percent contained Wednesday after burning through brush and forest on the western outskirts of Bend, a popular outdoor recreation destination in central Oregon. Fire investigators have said it was human-caused.
Fighting the fire has cost about $4.3 million so far.
It started in two locations Saturday on the western outskirts of the city on private timberland with extensive roads in an area popular for parties. It threatened hundreds of rural homes, as well as recreation areas popular with hikers and mountain bikers.
The reward is for information leading to a conviction. Contributors include Deschutes County and the city of Bend, each chipping in $5,000; the construction company Taylor Northwest, $2,500; and Cascade Timberlands, $2,000.
“The consequences from these fires could have been catastrophic for the city,” Bend City Manager Eric King said.