Fire onlookers cause extra problems for firefighters

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CAVE JUNCTION, Ore.–  Several fires in the Illinois Valley Saturday had firefighters scrambling to put them out. However, it wasn’t just the fires that were causing trouble.

When a fire breaks out every second is crucial. So when somebody trying to snap a photo gets in the way there can be problems.

“We’re finding more and more that traffic is either not getting out of the way for emergency vehicles or they also want to go to the scene and see what’s going on.” said Chief Dennis Hoke, Illinois Valley Fire District.

Chief Hoke says that was the case with Saturday’s two-acre Reeves Creek Road Fire.

“We had a gentleman virtually block the trailer of a bulldozer so they couldn’t get the bulldozer off the trailer,” he said.

When asked to move his truck, Chief Hoke said the man refused. In the past, Hoke says people have been prosecuted for incidents such as this.

“Your putting our people at risk and it’s putting the community at risk if they delay our ability to get on scene,” he said.

For firefighters, it’s a reckless endangerment that shouldn’t be there in the first place – especially when it comes to responding to wildfires. Hoke says they want to keep fires as small as they can and prevent them from blowing up into the next big fire.

But they can’t do that when delays and other problems get in their way. So the next time a fire breaks out, for the safety of everyone, firefighters ask you to follow the rules and stay out of the way.

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