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Damaged power line ignites three brush fires

UPDATED: THURSDAY, MAY 9, 2013, 6:10 P.M.

Flames are burning across a tree and weed-filled slope southwest of Spokane, sending smoke billowing across Interstate 90.

Spokane firefighters are attacking the blaze with water and bringing in heavy equipment. Crews were working to prevent flames from reaching at least one house in the fire’s path near 16th and Milton.

Authorities say three small fires were ignited when a large tree fell onto 16th Avenue, snagging power lines on its way down around 4:15 p.m. The flames are nearly contained.

Avista reports that more than 500 people are without power and has sent repair crews to the scene.

People who live near the fire say their power went out, then they smelled smoke.

One neighbor said he heard the power lines vibrate.

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