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Posted on Jun 13, 2016

Outdoor burning causes CB wildfire

CRESCENT BAR — A man burning a brush pile just east of the boat launch at Crescent Bar accidentally ignited a 150-acre wildfire on June 7, the local fire chief said.
The wildfire, started after 11 a.m., quickly moved up the hills behind the Sunserra condos and climbed up the draw, said Chief Don Fortier of Grant County Fire District No. 3. Firefighters worried the fire would reach homes on the upper Bishop bench, Fortier said.
However, firefighters were able to knock down the fire with the aid of several agencies, including those from around Grant, Douglas and Chelan counties. The fire was under control within a few hours.
Fortier estimates the fire covered between 150 and 300 acres.
At this time, there is no burn ban in Grant County. Fire Marshal David Nelson said there are no immediate plans to initiate a burn ban in the county at this time.
Crews were onsite in Crescent Bar through the night, mopping up at the scene and watching for any flare-ups. On Wednesday morning, about 20 people, including a hand crew, continued to work in Crescent Bar, Fortier said.
The crews were working to mop up the scene before high winds, expected for later Wednesday, were to move through the area, the chief said.
Fortier expressed some frustration that the wildfire season is early this year. The local fire district responded to three fires over the Memorial Day weekend.
“It’s starting out way too early,” Fortier said. “And, yeah, it is disappointing that people aren’t using a little more common sense when they are living or working or recreating near the dry land.”
With the many condos and homes in the Crescent Bar area, the fire could have quickly caused much devastation, Fortier said.
“It should not have happened,” Fortier said of the fire.
A helicopter from Chelan County Roto 1 was called in because of the steep terrain firefighters were dealing with. Responders had no safe access to some areas, he said.
The helicopter costs $1,500 an hour, Fortier added. While it’s nice to have that resource, it was money that could have been spent elsewhere.
“That’s taxpayers’ dollars that could be used for other things,” he said.


— By Jill FitzSimmons,

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