If anyone needed proof that Curry County was having an unseasonably dry January and that extra care is needed when burning, a fire in Harbor Thursday afternoon provided a valuable lesson.
An unattended burn pile at a residence in the 98000 block of Olsen Lane resulted in a structure fire that left five homes without power.
Windy conditions are thought to have fanned the fire from the pile, which burned a path through the dry grass and set a shed on fire. With the shed burning, the fire shot up an electric power pole nearby. The pole caught on fire and burned electric, telephone and cable wires.
The fire burned hot enough that it melted a neighbor's fence and paint on the garage siding bubbled up from the heat. Downed electric cables caused sparks and almost caused another fire as well.
Harbor Fire Chief John Brazil credited the immediate response of his volunteer firefighters with containing the blaze quickly. Brookings Fire Department and the Curry County Sheriff's Office also responded.
Brazil said with there being a red flag warning in effect, residents need to take extra care with their control burns. Harbor residents are required to obtain a burn permit from the Harbor Fire Department before having a controlled burn.
The National Weather Service issued a red flag warning for the south coast because of dry conditions and strong winds. Fire officials urge extreme care and caution because of the conditions.
"This is a perfect lesson in what could happen on a red flag day like today," said Chief Jim Watson of the Brookings Fire Department.
All controlled burns should be attended at all times and should be put out completely when they are done. There are different regulations in Brookings, Harbor and other areas so local residents should check with their local fire departments before having a controlled burn.