Oregon Senators Question Role of Power Lines in Beachie Creek Fire

Oregon Senators Ron Wyden and Jeff Merkley wrote a letter on Oct. 2 pressing the U.S. Forest Service Chief Vicki Christiansen and Oregon Department of Forestry State Forester Peter Daugherty for answers about the role of power lines “in the cause and/or spread” of the recent devastating Beachie Creek Fire.  

Oregon’s U.S. Sens. Ron Wyden and Jeff Merkley today asked the role power lines may have played in the cause or spread of the Beachie Creek fire. 

In a letter to U.S. Forest Service Chief Vicki Christiansen and Oregon Department of Forestry State Forester Peter Daugherty, Wyden and Merkley wrote, We write to ask for an analysis of the role of power lines in the cause and/or spread of the Beachie Creek fire. In a recent visit to the North Santiam Canyon, in which a number of Oregonians have lost their homes, vehicles, documents, and family mementos to the Beachie Creek fire, we were questioned repeatedly about the cause of the fire and how it could have been prevented. 

Wyden and Merkley also acknowledged the possible role of lightning, severe drought and historic windstorms had in the beginning and spread of this fire. 

Wyden and Merkley continued, We are grateful to the first responders and the firefighters, and the support coming to these communities. We understand that hundreds of our emergency managers and state and federal workers put their own lives on hold to respond to this disaster. These actions are a part of the ‘Oregon Way’ where people work together in uncommon efforts to deal with overwhelming and complex problems.’” 

A copy of today’s letter is available here.   

By Cara Nixon