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Four arrested for fire on Weyerhaeuser property

OREGON DEPARTMENT OF FORESTRY/KELLY NILES - A wildfire burns on timberland owned by Weyerhaeuser in Scappoose. The fire was likely caused by a campfire that was not properly extinguished, investigators say.Four people have been arrested in connection with a fire on Weyerhaeuser Co. timber property in Scappoose.

A fire broke out around 11:30 p.m. Friday, Aug. 5, on timberland off Holaday Road near Pisgah Home Road, according to Oregon State Police. OSP investigated the fire.

On Friday, the Department of Forestry announced via news release that the fire was likely caused by an illegal campfire near an illegally built shack that spread to several logging slash piles on the timber company’s property, which was closed to public access.

After an investigation, an OSP trooper arrested four men: Michael Hewlett, 19, of Warren; Javier Armando Martinez Estrada, 19, of St. Helens, Patrick Dalton Plumer, 23, of St. Helens and Isaiah Zazueta Ramirez, 20, of St. Helens.

“Evidence, including garbage, was gathered at the scene as the fire grew and burnt down a hillside,” OSP stated in a news release.

The next day, OSP investigators identified four men who had a campfire in the area the night the fire broke out.

“OSP contacted all four subjects who admitted to having a campfire at the scene, underage drinking and littering (beer cans, water bottles, cigarettes and wrappers),” the release states.

The private property was off limits to the public and a burn ban remains in effect through summer until fall.

Investigators obtained a video using social media, which showed the suspects at the campfire site. Messages with the video included comments that the suspects thought they had put the fire out, according to OSP.

In addition to criminal charges from the state, Weyerhaeuser security could file its own complaints against the men. The Oregon Department of Forestry intends to take legal action against the suspects, to recoup firefighting costs the agency incurred while fighting the blaze.

The suspects were arrested and booked into the Columbia County Jail on charges of reckless burning, trespassing and littering.