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Roseburg teen accused of starting 20 acre fire

Douglas County Fire District No. 2, the Douglas County Sheriff’s office and other firefighters respond to the Rolling Hills road fire near Roseburg Friday evening. The 20 acre fire that destroyed two homes was allegedly started by a 13-year-old playing with a lighter. Douglas Forest Protective Association photo.

A Roseburg area grass fire that quickly spread to 20 acres and destroyed two homes Friday allegedly began with a juvenile, age 13, who was playing with a lighter while walking with friends

The Douglas County Sheriff’s Office detectives have made contact with three juveniles who were present at the origin point of the Rolling Hills Fire first reported at 4:35 p.m. Friday in the 900 block of Rolling Hills Road near Roseburg, according to a release issued by the sheriff’s office Saturday afternoon.

Police have made contact with three youths were walking in a grassy area when the 13-year-old Roseburg juvenile playing with the lighter “pulled a clump of dead and dry grass from the ground and lit it,” the release issued Saturday states.

The investigation is still ongoing into the fire that quickly grew to 20 acres before destroying two homes, four vehicles and multiple outbuildings.

According to the preliminary investigation, the burning vegetation became too hot for the teen to handle, and the teen dropped it to the ground. The juveniles tried to extinguish the fire, and one of the juveniles went to a nearby residence and had the homeowner call 911.

The three juveniles and their guardians are cooperating with police. The 13-year-old Roseburg teen who started the fire was arrested on a misdemeanor charge of reckless burning.