Bandon is a city in Coos County, Oregon, United States, on the south side of the mouth of the Coquille River. It was named by George Bennet, an Irish peer, who settled nearby in 1873 and named the town after Bandon in Ireland, his hometown. The population was 3,066 at the 2010 census. In 2010, Bandon was named one of the "Coolest Small Towns in America" by BudgetTravel.
According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 3.15 square miles (8.16 km2), of which, 2.77 square miles (7.17 km2) is land and 0.38 square miles (0.98 km2) is water.
On September 26, 1936, a fire burned several miles of forest east of town. But a sudden shift in the wind drove the flames swiftly westward. Ignited by the forest fire, the town’s abundant gorse became engulfed in flames, Bandon resident D.H. Woomer told The Coos Bay Times. Bandon's entire commercial district was destroyed. The total loss stated at the time was $3 million USD, with 11 fatalities.
Ironically, the gorse was first introduced to the Oregon Coast by the founder of Bandon, Lord George Bennett, from his native Ireland.
Firefighters found that burning gorse reacted to having water squirted on it like a kitchen grease fire—it simply spread burning gobs of gorse everywhere. Stewart Holbrook described this conflagration in his essay "The Gorse of Bandon."
Part of the commercial district had been erected on wooden pilings jutting out over the Coquille River not far from the South Jetty, accommodating river traffic at the merchants' doors. After the 1936 fire, when Bandon began to be rebuilt, the new perimeter of the business district did not extend beyond the available land.
There is still gorse in Bandon today, but municipal codes strictly regulate how high and thick it may be allowed to get.