Fire in St. Helens destroys barn

ST. HELENS, Ore. – A fire burned down a barn in St. Helens, spread to brush nearby and raced up a hillside on Friday afternoon.

Columbia County Fire and Rescue Chief Jay Tappan said the fire started in a 5,000 square foot barn full of hay. Initially, the fire was said to have grown to 20 acres but later Tappan said it appeared to only have burned about five or six.

Tappan said they sent out warnings to people in the area just in case they had to order evacuations. There are about a dozen homes near the fire.

He said winds calmer than Portland’s helped keep the flames from getting out of control.

"We were lucky and we didn't have the winds here today that we thought we were going to have, so we were able to keep the burn area down to a much smaller area than we initially thought," he said.

So far there are no reports of injuries.

Tappan said they don't yet know the cause of the fire.

Fire crews used at least one helicopter with a water bucket to help control the fire.

High winds around the region fanned many fires on Friday and knocked over several trees and power lines.