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Wild brush fires keeping firefighters on the move

It's about to get hot hot hot, and that could mean more brush and grass fires across the region.

Tualatin Valley Fire and Rescue crews were hopping early this week when fires burned two buildings on Southwest 170th Avenue and nearly fried a Beaverton elementary school on Northwest Leahy Road.

The fires began late Sunday night, when firefighters were called to a blaze in an open field near 14878 S.W. Scholls Ferry Road. The fire was reported at about 10:25 p.m. in a field. Firefighters found a 150-by-20-foot part of the field burning, with flames leaping 10 to 15 feet high.

It only took a few minutes to extinguish the flames.

Firefighters think a discarded cigarette could have caused the fire.

Early Monday morning, firefighters were called to another brush fire near 8800 S.W. Leahy Road, next to West Tualatin View Elementary School.

Neighbors reported at about 12:38 a.m. that fire in a large part of the field was threatening the school. Firefighters used about 750 gallons of water to put out the blaze.

School district officials walked through the building and found no damage from the fire. They found, however, some homemade 'incendiary devices' that they turned over to fire investigators.

The remains of illegal fireworks also were found in the school's parking lot.

Investigators believe the fire started in a few bushes at the low end of the property and then swept up the hill, damaging about two dozen bushes along the way.

The fire didn't reach the school, but it burned hot enough to blister paint on the building.

On Monday evening, a grass fire burned an abandoned house and another building on Southwest 170th Avenue.

The fire came close to scorching Mountain View Middle School.

Tualatin Valley Fire and Rescue crews were called at about 7 p.m. to the fire at 5915 S.W. 170th Ave. by neighbors who thought it was just a blaze that started in the grass. Firefighters arrived to find two buildings engulfed in flames, some shooting 50 feet into the air. The fire spread to nearby fir and cedar trees that surrounded the buildings.

A second alarm was called because of difficult access and the need to get additional brush fire rigs on scene to protect neighboring houses and the middle school. Firefighters were confronted with a lengthy, overgrown gravel driveway that made it hard to get to the fire.

More than 50 firefighters from the fire district and Hillsboro responded in 13 trucks.

It took about 45 minutes to control the blaze. Firefighters poured water on it for another hour to make certain it didn't flare up.

Firefighters limited the spread of the fire to adjacent trees and then turned their attention to the abandoned structures. The fire was stubborn because of illegal dumping that had occurred in the buildings, which increased the fuel load.

Neighbors reported seeing two juveniles fleeing the area just about the time the fire began. Anyone with information about the fire is encouraged to call 503-612-7000.

A Tualatin Valley Fire and Rescue investigator was on the scene checking for evidence of the cause.