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July 8, 2013 at 8:19 AM

Fireworks may have started grass fire near Lake Chelan

MANSON (AP) — Fireworks set off by someone in a boat on the Fourth of July may have started the wildfire that burned more than three square miles above the north shore of Lake Chelan, a Department of Natural Resources spokeswoman said.

Investigators would like to find whoever reportedly set off fireworks from a boat on the lake near Manson, said spokeswoman Janet Pearce in Olympia.

The fire burned grass, brush and scattered trees on private and Forest Service land. By Monday, firefighters had the fire 50 percent contained and the chance it could threaten structures was significantly reduced, fire managers said.

Nearly 100 firefighters were demobilized to make them available for other fires. About 230 remained on the scene, mopping up hot spots with help from three helicopters, which have been dipping water from Lake Chelan.

Another wildfire has burned about one square mile of grass and some timber on the Colville Indian Reservation near the community of Lincoln. It was 60 percent contained Monday with firefighters mostly mopping up. It also broke out Thursday and also was human-caused, although the exact cause has not been determined, Pearce said.

Unless a wildfire is started by lightning, it’s considered to have been caused by a human in some way, she said, even if a power line falls down, for example.

Fires could have been much worse over the Fourth of July weekend in Eastern Washington with temperatures around 100 degrees, breezy winds and lots of people out of doors.

Winds and low humidity remain a concern as the summer goes along. By the end of July trees will be dry and could really take off, Pearce said.

“We could have a very bad fire season,” she said. “That depends on what people do and on lightning strikes.”

Lightning on Sept. 8 caused a wildfire outbreak in Washington. There have been no significant fires with homes lost so far this wildfire season.

“We’re trying to get prevention message out,” Pearce said.

Comments | Topics: Lake Chelan, Manson, wildfire


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