Jap Incendiary Sets Forest Fire

DeWitt's Announcement Hints Raider May Have Been Launched
From Submarine Off Coast, Later Attacked by Patrol Planes

San Francisco, Sept. 14. - Evidence that a Japanese seaplane, possibly operating from a submarine, may have attempted to set Southern Oregon forests afire in the first air bombing of continental United States was reported by the Western Defense Command here today.

A communique issued by Lieut. Gen. John L. DeWitt, Western Defense commander, said that:

A small seaplane was observed over the area of Mt. Emily nine miles northeast of Brookings, Or., Sept. 9.

A submarine was later sighted and bombed about 30 miles off the same shore by an Army patrol plane, with unobserved results.

Caption Left:

Fragments of Bomb - Mrs. Marvin Reeder holds fragments believed to have come from an incendiary bomb found in Siskiyou National Forest, Oregon. The Army is investigating the possibility that a Jap plane dropped the bomb.

A forest fire was started near Mt. Emily and that markings on what appeared to be fragments of an incendiary bomb were Japanese.

Forest patrols, which extinguished the blaze, discovered a foot-deep crater, the communique added, and about 40 pounds of metal fragments and small pellets.

The fragments bore Japanese ideographs.

Apparently the Japanese, if they made the attack, selected one of the most heavily wooded sections of the Coast, frequently threatened by forest fires.

A few years ago a fire in the same general area swept out of control and virtually wiped out the Oregon coast town of Bandon.


Japanese submarines have twice shelled the Pacific Coast - at Goleta in Southern California Feb. 23 and near Seaside, Or., June 22, but this was the first reported attack from the air.

The Goleta shelling caused slight damage to oil well installations. The Seaside shells buried harmlessly on a beach.


"The Western Defense Command is investigating the circumstances surrounding the discovery on Sept. 9 of fragments of what appears to have been an incendiary bomb. These fragments were found by personnel of the United States Forestry Service near Mt. Emily nine miles northeast of Brookings, Or. Markings of the bomb fragments indicated that the missile was of Japanese origin.


"At about 6 a.m., Pacific War Time, Sept. 9, a small unidentified seaplane was observed coming inland from the sea and a half an hour later a plane was heard at the same point headed toward the sea. Due to poor visibility the plane was not seen on its westward trip."

"At 6:24 a.m. Mr. Howard Gardner, a forestry service observer on Mt. Emily reported seeing an unidentified seaplane come from the west, circle and return toward the sea. He described the plane as a single-motored biplane with a single float and small floats on the wing tips. The plane appeared to be small and of slow speed. It had no lights, no distinct color and no insignia was visible. It is possible that a plane of this type might have been carried on a submarine."

"About 11 a.m. [P.W.T.,] the same day, a small fire was observed about three miles south of Mt. Emery. Investigation by forestry patrols who extinguished the fire disclosed a small crater about three feet in diameter and slightly more than a foot in depth.

"The earth appeared to be scorched. An examination of a crater and the area in the vicinity revealed about 40 pounds of metal fragments and a number of pellets. The fragments disclosed markings of Japanese ideographs which may have been part of a code indicating the arsenal where the bomb was manufactured. A search of the area has failed to reveal the presence of any other indications of bombs having been dropped."


Several Eyewitnesses Describe Incendiary
Raid by Strange Plane

Brookings [Or.] Sept. 14. -

Eyewitnesses tonight told of the incendiary attack of an unidentified seaplane, presumably Japanese, that winged in from the sea last Wednesday.

Residents of this town at the mouth of the Chetco River heard the plane circling in the mist at dawn, and a few caught glimpses of the ship.

Mrs. W.C. Crissey, wife of a Brookings real estate man, described it as a small plane without distinguishing marks. She said it circled over the beach at 500 feet, its pontoons clearly discernible. Then it headed inland.

Asa Carpenter, operator of a sawmill several miles up the Winchuk River, said he heard the plane circling around Mt. Emily shortly after 6 a.m.


Harold [Razz] Gardner, Forest Service lookout on Mt. Emily, saw the plane circling and later fire broke out. He brought the flames under control.

He reported to H.R. Dewart, Curry County air raid chairman, that he found bomb fragments and a "sizable" crater. The bomb sheared a six-inch tree and set fire to a stump, he said.

Ed Marshall, Federal forester, dug out of a crater what he said was the nose of an incendiary bomb. Attached was a steel shank bearing Japanese characters.

Near by were approximately 50 square pellets, each with a hole in the center. These were of a spongy substance.


Where they fell the earth was fused into slag, Marshall added.

This area is well known to Japanese.

Japanese exported logs extensively from the Chetco River country. Exporters often had their own men buying logs and arranging for rafting them down river. They had plenty of opportunity for mapping the region. The countryside is heavily timbered, mountainous and sparsely settled. No highways extend into the interior and there are few trails.

It took a fire crew four and a half hours to get to the scene of the bombing from a forest lookout station.

Gardner, who knew a short-cut through the dense growth, reached the flames within two hours and had things under control by the time the crew arrived.


Tom Page, a Brookings resident, said he heard an aircraft "engine and rushed out to see a small seaplane with a single pontoon break through a heavy fog bank and come in over Brookings very low."

"The plane continued inland, but it was impossible to follow its course because of clouds banked against the mountains," Page said.

"From the sound of the engine, it apparently made a circle over the mountains in the area where the bomb fragments were discovered and headed back out to sea.

"The plane came back directly over Brookings, still flying low."

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