Firefighters quickly douse grass fire | CraigDailyPress.com

Firefighters quickly douse grass fire

Officials still unsure of cause of Friday's blaze east of Craig

Lee Harstad

Fire engulfed a 200-yard portion of a ditch along U.S. Highway 40 east of Craig about noon Friday. A passing motorist noticed the fire and called Craig authorities to the scene.

Across the highway from the fire a resident noticed his lights flicker around the time of the beginning of the fire, suggesting an electrical short in the area. The resident has seen many fires in the area. He believes the fire Friday may have been caused by a bird that flew into a transformer.

Investigators said the fire could have been started by a lit cigarette, but the cause has not been determined.

Fire fighters were quick to the scene and doused the fire. The fire began near a telephone pole and spread east toward the Craig city limit sign and to the west as well.

Assistant Fire Chief Bill Johnston said the fire was not in a position to spread across the highway into nearby housing developments because the sage brush was not tall enough. When the sage stands tall and burns, the embers are more likely to be caught up in the wind, he said.

At this time of year, the sage is dry and will burn and spread rapidly.