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Resource ID: #25874
Source:Bulletin (Anaheim, Calif.)
A couple living in the woods between Bend and Sisters, two mountain towns in the Oregon Cascades, saw a spire of smoke rising from the nearby forest on the morning of Sept. 9, 2012. They called the Central Oregon Interagency Dispatch Center directly to report the fire, but the dispatcher didn't take notes from the call and didn't order any firefighter response. The fire producing the smoke went on to be the Pole Creek Fire, the largest fire last year in Central Oregon. The fire burned more than 40 square miles of forest, forced the evacuation of about 30 hikers and campers and destroyed four cars parked at a trailhead. It cost $18 million to fight. The Bulletin learned of this "human error," as the Deschutes National Forest supervisor called it, after a FOIA request for dispatch logs and audio recordings from the first morning of the fire. The supervisor now promises such a mistake won't happen again.