Tillamook County Sheriff’s Office Investigates Fire, Large Gathering in Tillamook State Forest July 3rd

EDITOR’S NOTE: Update from Oregon Dept. of Forestry July 4th – The small wildfire (approximately 6 acre area) burning in the Tillamook State Forest is under investigation by authorities who believe it may have been caused by fireworks. Fire crews have contained it and are mopping up the fire.

July 3, 2021 – 10:00 pm – There is a small fire currently burning within the Tillamook State Forest in the Drift Creek area. Oregon Department of Forestry (ODF) requested a law enforcement response in case there were to be any evacuations needed. TCSO Sheriff Joshua Brown responded to the scene and met with Forest Deputy Billy Cloud and Evan Wallace to assess any needed law enforcement response. “The ODF fire official on scene did not seem to be overly concerned about the fire spreading out of control, and told me that he expected it should be handled by morning,” said Sheriff Brown.

Sheriff Josh Brown, and Deputies Cloud and Wallace discuss fire in Tillamook State Forest July 3rd.

Complicating matters from a law enforcement perspective was the fact that just a few miles away from the fire there was a large gathering of people that officials feared might need to be evacuated if the fire grew. “There was an unsanctioned, non-permitted rave event nearby and we estimated there were 50-60 vehicles and 200 people there,” said Sheriff Brown. “There was no indication at that time that the fire was related to the gathering, but I suspect ODF will be doing a cause investigation.”
The large group voluntarily disbanded and left the area safely while also cleaning up and collecting their trash as gates to the area were closed behind them. No citations were issued at that time. TCSO is asking people to please stay away from the area near Drift Creek and to remember that we are in a very high fire danger – camp fires are prohibited outside of designated campsite fire rings. “Please leave your fireworks at home this year so we won’t have a repeat of last year’s fire season,” said Sheriff Brown.
TCSO units have left the fire area and all questions regarding this fire should be directed toward the Oregon Department of Forestry. For more information regarding current fire restrictions in the Tillamook Forest, please visit https://www.oregon.gov/odf/fire/pages/restrictions.aspx
(Photos by Kelli Brown and Deputy Cloud, Tillamook County Sheriff’s Office)