Fire Marshal: Roseburg fire started by boys with matches

ROSEBURG, Ore. -- A fire in East Roseburg was started by 3 boys throwing lit matches into dry grass, according to Douglas County Fire District #2.

At about 2:55 p.m., firefighters were dispatched to a reported brush fire at 2500 SE Eagles Rest Avenue off of Ramp Road in Roseburg.

Fire Marshal Josep Pedrola says a witness reported that three juveniles were seen running away from the area of the fire.

Responding fire crews reported smoke visible from several miles away.

Fire crews arrived to find a brush fire burning in deep grass, shrubs and trees along the nature trail that runs south of Eastwood Elementary School.

Officials say gusty winds pushed the fire up a slope, sending it toward several homes.

The fire was declared under control 20 minutes after the arrival of fire crews at the scene, Pedrola said.

The fire was determined to be 1/2 acre in size.

Authorities say they were able to locate and question three white male juveniles, who they say admitted to have been walking along the nature trail, lighting matches and throwing them on the dry grass to see it burn. Officials say the boys would then stomp the fire out.

Pedrola says the boys couldn't get one fire out, after a sudden gust of wind sent it out of control.

All three were taken into custody by Douglas County Sheriff's deputies, officials said. "It is reckless for anyone to light fires, given the daytime temperatures and drying conditions we are experiencing," Pedrola said.

No one was injured during the fire, and no structures or vehicles were damaged.