Brush fire threatens two homes

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By Dennis Box-The Courier-Herald

East Pierce Fire and Rescue firefighters battled a brush fire Friday afternoon that threatened two homes in the 16000 block of 60th Street East near Sumner-Tapps Highway.

Fifteen East Pierce firefighters and emergency personnel with two fire engines responded to the blaze.

According to an East Pierce press release, when crews arrived the fire had burned up the slope and was threatening the homes. Firefighters fought the blaze and put out hot spots for more than two hours. The flames scorched an area about 50 feet by 100 feet.

Neither home was burned but there was damage to an outbuilding and trees.

East Pierce reported a resident of the area admitted he was burning trash on his property and the flames ignited nearby grass and blackberry bushes. The man said he called 911.

The fire was reported to Puget Sound Clean Air Agency by East Pierce officials. Fines for illegal burns can exceed $14,000 per day and start at $2,000 plus reimbursement costs to the fire department.

East Pierce Deputy Chief John McDonald said, “This is the second significant fire we've seen so far this spring.”

A fire near Wilkeson burned about two acres near the Quinnton Extension Road East.

According to the Puget Sound Clean Air Agency, outdoor burning of any kind is illegal in incorporated cities.

Residents who live in rural areas are allowed to burn natural vegetation between October 1 and May 31 by permit only. Permits may be obtained from the fire department.

All fires are illegal during air quality or fire safety burn bans issued by the Department of Natural Resources or Pierce County Fire Marshal.

For more information about burn permits, contact East Pierce Fire and Rescue at 253-863-1800.

Dennis Box can be reached at

The following are tips from East Pierce Fire and Rescue to help people protect their homes and property from fires.

€ Rake leaves, dead timber and twigs to remove flammable vegetation, especially from under structures.

€ Remove dead branches that extend over the roof.

€ Mow grass regularly.

€ Clear a 10-foot area around propane tanks and the barbecue.

€ Thin a 15-foot space between tree crowns and prune limbs within 15 feet of the ground.

€ Ask the power company to clear branches from power lines.

€ Remove vines from the walls of the home.

€ Dispose of rubbish at an approved site.

€ Stack firewood at least 100 feet away and uphill from your home.

€ Identify and maintain an outside water source such as a well, swimming pool, hydrant or small cistern.

€ Have a garden hose that is long enough to reach any area of the home and structures on the property.

€ Treat wood or combustible material in roofs, siding, decking and trim with UL-approved fire retardant chemicals.

€ Store gasoline, oily rags and other flammable materials in approved safety cans. Place cans in a safe location away from the base of buildings.

€ Always make sure all driveway entrances prominently display your address. Make sure it can easily be seen by firefighters at night.

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