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Burn ban not being heeded

Sat., Aug. 31, 2013, midnight

A burn ban in Spokane County does not seem to be deterring people from lighting recreational fires in their backyards and elsewhere. In recent weeks some backyard fires and campfires have escaped, starting brush fires.

No backyard fires escaped during the week of Aug. 22-28, but Spokane Valley Fire Department Fire Marshal Kevin Miller said his department responded to seven of the illegal fires and asked that they be put out. “We’re still having some issues,” Miller said.

One homeowner called for help in putting out a smoldering stump he’d set ablaze to kill a beehive. Stumps can burn for a long time, Miller said. “The Valley View fire started the same way,” he said, referring to a large wildfire in the Dishman Hills area in 2008 that burned 11 homes. “It was a recreation fire in a stump that they thought was out.”

Fire investigators responded to assist Spokane County Fire District 11 with a fire on Mica Peak on Aug. 22. “There was a pretty good smoke plume,” Miller said. “You could see it from the Valley.”

Investigators were unable to determine the cause of the fire, but consider it suspicious. The area that burned did not have electrical power, Miller said. “There was no reason for it,” he said. “A fifth wheel burned to the ground and some outbuildings.”

Firefighters responded to 262 calls the week of Aug. 22-28; 211 of the calls were for emergency medical services.

Crews also responded to a small cooking fire that didn’t cause any damage, a suspected clothes dryer fire, a dumpster fire and a kitchen fire in the Mexican restaurant at the Trailhead Golf Course in Liberty Lake. The fryer fire was put out by the restaurant’s fire suppression system but the building did fill with smoke, Miller said.

A transformer explosion was reported at Ninth Avenue and Evergreen Road the evening of Aug. 28. Fifteen accidents were reported. Six resulted in minor injuries.

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