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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Arsonist started Carpenter Road Fire, authorities say

A wildfire that has scorched nearly 64,000 acres of land in Stevens County and on the Spokane Indian reservation was started by an arsonist, the Bureau of Indian Affairs said Friday. “This fire has done a tremendous amount of damage to 18 primary residences, the natural resources and surrounding communities during a very dry summer,” said Marcella Teters, the Bureau of Indian Affairs’ superintendent for the Spokane Indian Reservation, in a statement. A joint news release from the bureau and the Spokane Tribe of Indians said the fire was caused by humans, not lightning. It has been burning for more than a month after being discovered Aug. 13 along the Westend-Wellpinit Road, just north of the Rock Church on the Spokane Indian Reservation, according to the news release. The blaze, one of many that have burned hundreds of thousands of acres in central and northwestern Washington, prompted evacuations on the reservation and in Stevens County after jumping roads and causing the death of Larry Lehrbas, a Fruitland man who was trying to save his property ahead of advancing flames. The news release does not specify what evidence at the scene of the fire’s origin prompted the arson determination. Those with information about the fire are asked to contact law enforcement by calling 1-800-472-7766. Callers can remain anonymous and a $10,000 reward is available if the information leads to a conviction. The bureau and tribe reported 83 percent of fires on the Spokane reservation have been attributed to human causes. The Carpenter Road Fire is 95 percent contained, with crews totaling 350 firefighters continuing work to mop up the flames. Rain is forecasted for the area this week.
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