Portland Fire & Rescue

Portland Fire & Rescue


Portland Fire and Rescue has provided new details about fires breaking out in the city’s homeless camps. The city has responded to 37 fires in and around homeless camps since February.  

About half of those fires were accidents involving cooking, candles or smoking. But four of the fires have been listed as arson, and the fire bureau hasn’t determined the cause of another 13.  

Spokesman Dan Watson said the agency is concerned.

“We treat homeless camp fires like multi-occupancy fires, with potential for large loss of life, similar to an apartment complex because of the number of people living there,” Watson said.

Earlier this year, Portland Mayor Charlie Hales announced that he would allow camping on some city property due the lack of shelter space in Portland.

Several business groups and neighborhood associations are suing the city over the camping policy.