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Crews extinguish Powell Butte fires

Portland and Gresham fire crews extinguished two grass fires on Powell Butte late Tuesday afternoon.

Firefighters were dispatched at 3:30 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 18, to a grass fire on the north side of Powell Butte Nature Park, said Lt. Joseph Troncoso, Portland Fire & Rescue spokesman. When they arrived, crews discovered two separate fires in the park.

The first fire was approximately 50 feet by 75 feet. Three employees of a contracted construction company had been putting water on the fire, helping to contain it.

“The second fire was up the road and then 300 feet up the hillside,” said Battalion Chief Craig Funk. Firefighters used a brush unit to get to the fire and used water from the fire engines to replenish the brush unit’s water supply.

A brush unit is a 4-wheel drive pickup truck with a modified bed that’s able to go into places that fire engines can’t reach. Such units carry specialized wild land firefighting equipment and are equipped with a 250-gallon water tank and pump.

By 4:20 p.m., firefighters had both fires under control. Crews stayed at the scene into the evening to make sure the fires remained out. What sparked the fires remains under investigation.