2 women cited for campfire blaze

Published Jul 16, 2013 at 05:00AM

A mother and daughter living in a homeless camp off Neff Road were cited in connection with a fire that charred just less than four acres Thursday east of Bend.

The Deschutes County Sheriff’s Office cited the girl, 14, for reckless burning, reckless endangerment of another person and second-degree criminal mischief. Her mother, Ruth Johnson, 41, was cited for failure to supervise a child, the Sheriff’s Office announced late Sunday.

The pair lived in a tent about 50 yards from the main part of a large homeless camp just south of Neff Road near Hamby Road, according to sheriff’s Sgt. Troy Gotchy.

The fire spread south and west, burning sage brush and juniper trees, and threatening a home nearby, Gotchy reported. The fire was apparently improperly extinguished by the girl, said Bend deputy fire marshal Dan Derlacki.

The girl used approximately 1 liter of water to douse the flames and covered the coals with dirt. Derlacki said more water was needed, and dirt worked as an insulator for the coals rather than a retardant.

Although not positive, investigators believe that wind picked up and reignited the fire, burning nearby brush. The girl’s tent and personal property were lost in the fire.

— Bulletin staff report

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