How A Lawnmower Caused Oregon Wildfire — And $22 Million In Expenses: Who Should Pay?

A lawnmower is reportedly the culprit behind a massive wildfire raging in Oregon. That’s right, a lawnmower. Who would have thought mowing grass could lead to such devastation?

Whoever started the Stouts Creek blaze certainly didn’t count on their grass-cutting leading to a wildfire. It turns out that bit of ignorance could cost him or her millions of dollars — That is, if authorities move to charge the fire starter with the total cost of damages and firefighting expenses.

According to the Oregon Department of Forestry, it was a lawnmower that sparked the state’s ongoing wildfire disaster, which NBC News reports started on July 30. Investigators traced the source of the flames to the outer edges of the Umpqua National Forest, just east of Canyonville, Oregon. From there, the wildfire managed to spread over 23,841 acres. Although 63 percent of the blaze is suppressed, Oregon officials do not anticipate that the fire will be contained until around August 22.

In the meantime, nearly 158 homes are at risk.

By the time the Oregon wildfire is successfully contained, it’s estimated that the fire will have cost the state more than $22 million. Costs were broken down by a combination of damage and expenses, including the use of “46 engines, 30 water tenders, 21 bulldozers and 10 helicopters.” There are 1,500 firefighters from 23 U.S. states and Canada working together to put the flames out.

Investigators not only determined that a lawnmower was the cause of the dangerous situation but they also revealed Thursday that the person mowed grass “during prohibited hours.”

Whoever decided to bring the lawnmower out during the unlawful window of time committed a serious violation. The Forestry Department has not ruled out the possibility that a portion of the amount this wildfire will cost the state of Oregon might be billed to whoever is responsible.

“Because of the violation, the individual may be liable for fire suppression costs and damages resulting from the fire.”

It’s not the first time in recent days that a major wildfire was caused by a bone-headed decision. The Inquisitr previously reported that a cyclist in Idaho was behind a fire that burned over 73 acres of land. That individual caused the fire after stopping in the wilderness to “answer the call of nature.” When he attempted to burn his waste, the sparks landed on dry grass and began burning uncontrollably.

The hapless cyclist later confessed and reportedly could have been charged the wildfire. It’s worth noting that blaze that was comparatively less pricey than the final tally anticipated for the Oregon wildfire expenses.

Cyclist’s potty break leads to Idaho wildfire

— Idaho Update (@IdahoUpdate) July 28, 2015

As for the ongoing situation in Oregon, it’s yet to be revealed who the lawnmower belongs to and if the person directly responsible for the Stouts Creek wildfire has been identified.

Do you think whoever started the Oregon fire with their lawnmower should handle part (or even all) of the firefighting costs? Share your thoughts below.

[Image Credit: YouTube/The Circle Wolf Creek]