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Region in brief: Open fires banned within city limits

The city of Spokane on Friday banned open burning and recreational fires in city limits because of hot, dry conditions.

The ban will continue through Sept. 15 and may be extended if conditions demand it, according to Spokane Fire Marshal Lisa Jones.

Residents may still use backyard barbecues, chimineas or other fully enclosed patio and deck warmers, as long as approved fuel is used, the city said.

Approved fuel includes seasoned (clean and dry) firewood, briquettes, propane and natural gas.

Anyone who fails to comply with an order to cease unauthorized burning could face a fine of up to $1,000 and up to 90 days in jail.

Staff reports

Drivers hospitalized after head-on crash

A head-on, two-car collision on U.S. Highway 95 at Bonners Ferry on Friday sent both drivers to the hospital.

Elizabeth L. May, 80, of Bonners Ferry, and Narven E. Osteen, 77, of Libby, Mont., were both transported from the crash site to Boundary Community Hospital and airlifted to Providence Sacred Heart Medical Center in Spokane.

May was listed in serious condition Friday night; Osteen was in critical condition, a nursing supervisor said.

Osteen was southbound on the highway near milepost 504 shortly before noon when his 2007 Ford sedan crossed the center lane and hit May’s northbound 2005 Toyota Camry, the Idaho State Police reported. Police did not know what caused Osteen to veer out of his lane.

Both drivers were wearing seat belts.

The accident was under investigation.

Carolyn Lamberson

Burning insulation drives out residents

Smoldering insulation in a rental home displaced seven people Friday morning in northeast Spokane.

Fire crews responded about 4 a.m. to 33 E. Bridgeport Ave. to the report of a fire in the attic. Firefighters found smoldering insulation, Assistant Fire Chief Brian Schaeffer said.

Crews pulled down the insulation and cut electricity to the home, where six adults and an infant were living.

Two residents found other lodging, but four adults and an infant will be housed this weekend by the American Red Cross Inland Northwest Chapter, said Jennifer Westra, of the agency.

“We’ll be sheltering them for at least three days and doing follow-up work,” Westra said. No injuries were reported.

Thomas Clouse