Two Bulls Fire investigation ongoing

Reward fund up to $43,075 for information leading to a conviction

By Dylan J. Darling / The Bulletin / @DylanJDarling

More than three weeks after the Two Bulls Fire scorched lands near Bend, investigators are trying to determine who started it.

Andrea Vaughn, a detective with the Oregon State Police in Bend, said Monday she is still conducting interviews about the fire but had no new details to make public.

“We are not releasing any more information at this time regarding the fire,” she said.

The Black Butte lookout spotted separate fires burning near Tumalo Reservoir and Bull Springs around 12:45 p.m. June 7. The fires burned together to become the Two Bulls Fire, and wind pushed the blaze toward west Bend, prompting the evacuation of nearly 200 homes.

The Deschutes County Sheriff’s Office has said the fires were human-caused and possibly arson.

The Two Bulls Fire charred 6,908 acres in all, most on the first day. More than 1,000 firefighters fought the blaze, which the Oregon Department of Forestry declared fully contained on June 14.

While OSP is heading up the investigation into the cause of the fire, the Sheriff’s Office has organized a reward for information leading to a conviction in the case. As of Monday, the reward was at $43,075, said Sheriff’s Capt. Shane Nelson.

Donors to the reward fund include individuals who live near where the fire burned, the city of Bend, the Sheriff’s Office, Deschutes County and several Central Oregon companies.

The bulk of the fire burned on private forest owned by Cascade Timberlands, a timber holding company. The company has put $2,000 into the reward fund.

Bill Swarts, forester for the company, said Monday he is evaluating whether the timber burned in the fire will be salvage logged or not.

“We still don’t have any number on it yet,” he said. “Some of (the forest) burned severely and some of it is an underburn.”

The Sheriff’s Office asks anyone with information about the cause of the Two Bulls Fire to call 541-693-6911.

— Reporter: 541-617-7812, ddarling@bendbulletin.com