On July 1, 2023, just before 3pm Yachats Rural Fire Protection District was dispatched to a brush fire in the area of Governor Patterson State Park in Waldport. With consideration of the details of the call, Central Coast Fire, Seal Rock Fire, and Oregon Department of Forestry were requested as well. The first arriving unit arrived 6 minutes after dispatch, and found an approximately 300 foot area of brush on the west side of the highway near SW Whitecap Dr. The main area of fire was down a cliff approximately 20 feet below the highway in vegetation on the beach, though brush alongside the highway was also burning.
Due to the potential for fire to spread across the highway, residences across the highway were evacuated by Lincoln County Sheriff's Office deputies. Firefighters from Yachats, Central Coast, and Seal Rock were eventually joined by firefighters from Newport Fire, Oregon Department of Forestry, and the US Forest Service. Newport Fire brought a beach rig, which allowed for efficient fire attack from the beach. Crews at the south end of the fire were able to utilize a fire hydrant for sustained water supply, while at the north end of the fire, a portable water tank was deployed, and kept filled by a Newport Fire water tender.
At about 5:30 an initial knockdown of the fire was reached. At 6pm the evacuation order was lifted. Highway 101 was closed for about 5 hours until the majority of structural fire protection resources had left the scene. During this time, a Toledo Fire engine assisted with coverage of the south county area. The total area of fire involvement is estimated at 0.25 acres in a 650 foot stretch of vegetation.
Witness statements and physical evidence recovered indicate fireworks were the cause of the fire. Dry and windy conditions contributed to the fast spread of the fire. Oregon Department of Forestry firefighters remained at the scene overnight, along with a firefighter and water tender from Yachats Fire. As a reminder, fireworks are prohibited on beaches and in state parks in Oregon.