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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Fireworks are suspected cause in series of fires

Associated Press

YAKIMA – Fireworks are already posing problems for firefighters in Yakima County.

Fire crews on Wednesday were able to contain two brush fires that broke out within a quarter-mile of each other off South Naches Heights Road a day earlier. But four new fires started Wednesday afternoon on the same stretch of road, just west of Tuesday’s fires.

All were believed to have been started by fireworks, which are illegal in Yakima County, said Dave Thompson, chief criminal deputy for the county.

“This is criminally foolish behavior,” Thompson said. “This has created a huge financial burden, not only on fire resources, but also on sheriff’s officers.”

A 29-year-old man, who lives nearby, was stopped at a traffic stop and was found to have fireworks in his car. Thompson said the man, whose name was not released, was arrested for violating the county ordinance, but Thompson said it was too soon to say if the man was responsible for the fires.

The number of acres burned in Wednesday’s fires about three miles east of the town of Naches was not yet known, but a helicopter was dumping water on the blazes. Local crews had requested assistance from state firefighters, said Jim Kohl of Yakima County Fire District 6.

No homes had been evacuated, and no injuries were reported.

The Yakima County fires were just the latest reported recently in Eastern Washington. The largest blackened about 25,000 acres of grass and wheat fields in northern Walla Walla County, near the town of Clyde. It was contained Monday.

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