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The Spokesman-Review Newspaper
Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

100 years ago in Spokane: 17 fires reported in Spokane on the Fourth; major wildfires burning north country

Though there were limited reports of fire on July 5, 1922, in the Spokane area, officials were concerned about a massive wildfire moving into the Pend Oreille country and threatening the town of Ione.  (S-R archives)
By Jim Kershner The Spokesman-Review

Fire damage was relatively light in Spokane on the Fourth – although in this era, relatively light meant 17 fires. Many of those fires were caused by firecrackers. A home in Opportunity was destroyed when boys playing with firecrackers set fire to an adjacent barn.

Yet fireworks injuries were scarce, which the Spokane Daily Chronicle attributed to the new “safe and sane” laws in the city. The only accidental death reported on the holiday was unrelated to fireworks. It was a drowning at Newman Lake.

Up north, however, a huge wildfire was threatening the town of Ione. A 3-mile-wide line of fire was advancing through the northern Pend Oreille country. Three farms had already been destroyed.

The exact cause of the fire was unknown, but the timber throughout the region was reported to be as “dry as tinder.”

Other forest fires were burning throughout the region, including one along Marble Creek in the St. Joe country.

From the labor beat: Tensions were rising in the huge railroad shop workers strike, which included thousands of Spokane union workers.

Railroad management issued ultimatums to the strikers. They ordered workers to return to duty within the week or they would lose their pension and seniority rights. The Great Northern vowed to replace strikers with nonunion labor.

Meanwhile, traffic was continuing as usual on all four railroad lines into Spokane.