Investigators are looking into the cause of a nearly 400-acre fire burning on private industrial timber land north of Gold Beach where a large group of adults and juveniles were camping.
Curry County Sheriff John Ward said in a statement that campers associated with the the Next Generation Climate Justice Action Camp — hosted by the Civil Liberties Defense Center — have declined to provide answers about how the fire started at the advice of an attorney. As of Thursday, investigators say the campers have still not cooperated with the investigation.
“Deputies attempted to interview members of the group but upon advice from their attorney, they did not provide any detailed answers how the fire started although it was evident that they attempted to extinguish the fire initially,” Ward said in a statement on Facebook.
“Deputies were only provided very basic information from a few campers on what they saw and any efforts to extinguish the fire.”
Firefighters have the fire 30 percent contained as of Thursday afternoon. Suppression efforts — which began July 1 — have so far totaled more than $956,000.
“Right now the fire’s under investigation and there’s still a lot to do in that respect to determine cause and if there is a responsible party involved in the cause of the fire,” said Tom Fields, a spokesperson with the Oregon Department of Forestry.
Seven hundred twenty-seven personnel are battling the fire.
Fields says ODF hopes to have the fire fully contained by end-of-shift Saturday.
The Civil Liberties Defense Center did not respond for comment in time for this report.