Howard Buford Park reopened after fire near Mount Pisgah

Howard Buford Park reopened after fire near  Mount Pisgah
A firefighting helicopter drops water on a fire in Howard Buford Recreation Area, which includes Mount Pisgah.

EUGENE, Ore. - The Howard Buford Recreation Area is open on Saturday after officials closed the county park to let fire crews fight a wildland fire that consumed over an acre of land.

Lane County Parks staff evacuated visitors from the park that includes the Mt. Pisgah Arboretum on Friday as fire crews worked to control the fire.

The fire began around 12:30 p.m. Friday.

Oregon Department of Forestry and the Goshen Fire Department attacked the fire with the help of a helicopter, which filled a suspended bucket with water from a nearby river to douse the flames from the air.

Forestry officials said crews contained the fire at around 2:45 p.m., after flames consumed just over an acre of land in the Howard Buford Recreation Area.

A Lane County spokesperson said Saturday afternoon that the park was fully open, however they ask people to be careful while taking trail #3 which goes through the burn area.

“Conditions in the park are very dry right now and we ask for all visitors to be vigilant about protecting the park from wildfire. If you see fire or smoldering brush, please call 911 immediately,” said Lane County Parks Manager Mike Russell. 

Fire investigators are still trying to determine what caused the fire.

The park is south of Springfield, where a fire ripped through a plywood mill Thursday.

People who live near Buford Park said that fire cast embers into the area.

"Last night we had embers from the mill fire clear over here landing in our yard, and it was still smoking," said Larry Norris, who lives on Seavey Loop Road.

But fire officials doubted that the two were connected.