La Pine man jailed for arson in Stagecoach Fire

Published Jul 23, 2013 at 03:06PM

A La Pine man is accused of intentionally starting a wildfire Monday south of La Pine that prompted the evacuation of 120 homes.

Kelly Jera Parker, 30, is being held today on $100,000 bail at the Klamath County Jail in Klamath Falls, said a deputy at the jail. He is charged with first-degree arson.

Parker was arrested Monday night and arrived at the jail at 11:30 p.m., the deputy said.

The Stagecoach Fire was first spotted around 3:30 p.m. by the Odell Butte lookout. Burning through thick lodge pole pine, the fire spread to 330 acres by this morning. Initial reports had the fire at 400 acres. As the fire moved east through the woods it caused the evacuation of the Antelope Meadows and Split Rail subdivisions. The fire and the homes are between U.S. Highway 97 and state Highway 31 in far northern Klamath County.

There are 65 firefighters, including two 20-person hotshot crews, on the fire today, said Kate Goossens, a spokeswoman at the Central Oregon Interagency Dispatch Center in Prineville.

Fire crews have etched a preliminary line around the blaze and were calling the fire 10 percent containment this afternoon, she said. But with high temperatures, around 100 degrees, expected this afternoon, the fire could test that line.

“What they got is a start,” Goossens said.