Fire investigators said Thursday that southern Oregon’s Stouts Creek Fire seems to have started by a lawnmower used in violation of local orders.
Nearly 1,600 firefighters are battling the blaze, due east of Canyonville and north of Grants Pass, which has burned more than 23,000 acres. It has filled the air above Crater Lake National Park with a heavy haze of smoke.
The Oregon Department of Forestry is not releasing any identifying information about the person who was mowing after a regulated use closure was put into effect, but in a press release the agency said that he or she may be liable for fire suppression costs and damages resulting from the fire.
Stouts Creek Fire suppression costs have reached $22.4 million, forestry officials said.