Firefighters warn residents to burn with care

Craig Fire/Rescue contained a wildland fire south of Craig near a residence on Highway 13 Wednesday night.

The fire erupted when burning material blew out of a barrel of trash, igniting brush on a hillside, said Deputy Fire Chief Chris Nichols.

The fire moved up the hillside until reaching a driveway between a residence and the highway.

"The driveway stopped it from running up the hill," Nichols said.

When Craig Fire/Rescue arrived, the property owners were spraying the fire with a garden hose, Nichols said.

After dousing the flames and liberally watering the hillside, firefighters sprayed the area with a foam solution that helps prevent the remaining fuels from re-igniting, Nichols said.

Open fires are banned within city limits but burning trash in the county is permitted.

"A lot of county residents burn their own trash," Nichols said.

Nichols warned residents to be careful to prevent burning embers from escaping to nearby vegetation.

"You have to choose a proper site if you are going to burn trash," Nichols said. "The brush fire season is just starting to kick off with all of the dry weather we've been having."

In an eventful day, Craig Fire/Rescue responded with four trucks to another fire call at the Craig Station Power Plant, said Fire Chief Roy Mason.

Tri-State spokesman Jim Van Someren said it was a "very small incident," which caused "virtually no damage."

While no visible flames or smoke were present, someone smelled smoke. A section of a wall in the coal crushing building was removed and smoldering insulation was discovered in the wall's interior.

Van Someren said the company suspects the fire was caused by spontaneous combustion of coal dust in the wall's insulation.

To reach Jeremy Browning, call 824-7031 or email jbrowning@craigdailypress.com.

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