BEND, Ore. - Two men face accusations they ignited an illegal firework at a trail head on the Fourth of July - and set Pilot Butte State Park on fire, forcing nearby residents to evacuate.
Firefighters and police responded to the fire just before 5 p.m.
"Deschutes County 911 received information that a person heard fireworks one minute prior to the fire starting," acording to Bend Police. "They also received descriptions of two vehicles leaving the area around the same time as the fire starting."
State and federal wildand fire crews also responded, helping to limit the spread of the fire to 8 acres.
But the blaze started to cross Highway 20, sending burning embers aloft that sparked "spot fires." Firefighters chased down and extinguished this new fires, according to police.
"The fire threatened the apartments to the east of Pilot Butte State Park," police said. "Bend Police assisted in evacuating residents from the apartments."
The evacuees were able to provide "excellent descriptions of vehicles and persons in the area just prior to the fire starting," according to police. "Two residents recognized the severity of the situation and either took photographs of vehicles leaving the scene or had a detailed mental description of the suspects involved in the incident."
The investigation led police to 38-year-old Brandon Joel Hastings of Bend around 10 p.m. Wednesday night. Officers arrested him and took him to the Deschutes County Jail on a charge of Criminal Mischief.
Detectives located a second suspect, identitifed as 29-year-old Alan Joseph Stout, on Thursday morning. Police arrested Stout on charges of Criminal Mischief I, Reckless Burning and a Felony Probation Violation.
Police believe Stout and Hastings "were at the Pilot Butte State Park Trailhead and had allegedly ignited an illegal 'mortar' style firework. It appears the spark of the firework led to vegetation on the east side of Pilot Butte to ignite."