‘Very significant hazard’: Fire crews check for hotspots from unseasonal brush fire, ask homeowners to protect property

SPOKANE, Wash. — Spring in the Inland Northwest is anything but predictable. Wildfires are no exception, which is why it’s critical to prepare your property for the threat.

The local landscape is full of wildland-urban interfaces (WUI) which are the perfect breeding grounds for wildfires to spark and put people at risk.

Brian Schaeffer, the Fire Chief for the Spokane Fire Department, describes WUI’s as a place “where the urban forest, nature comes in contact with residences.”

Twenty-four homes were at risk because of a brush fire on Friday crews are still monitoring days later.

“We’re seeing like we are today an earlier fire season,” Schaeffer said.

Even with low temperatures, high wind and forests full of dry fuel put the Inland Northwest at high risk for wildfires if homeowners don’t prepare.

“We love living in these types of areas because it brings nature to us, but it also represents a very significant hazard and one that property owners can definitely prevent,” he added.

There are ways to prevent these fires from destroying your home.

1. You should keep combustible items at least 30 feet away from your home.
2. Avoid landscaping with woodchips or planting trees right by your home. Both ignite quickly.
3. Talk with your family about a safety plan sooner rather than later.

You don’t have to create a defensible space around your home alone. Multiple fire agencies in the community will actually come to your property and make sure your home is protected. Through partnerships with DNR and local fire departments, Schaeffer says they want to give homeowners the tools they need to survive wildfire season and not lose property or something much worse.

A sea of black is the new landscape for 26 acres in West Spokane after police say a man started the fire with a torch. He was arrested in relation to starting this fire, and an investigation is underway.

Thankfully no one was injured, properties are still standing, and home owners have time this spring to prepare their property for a wildfire.

Crews will be on scene throughout the day on Sunday checking for spot fires to make sure nothing else ignites.

You can learn more about protecting your home from a wildfire HERE.

RELATED: Airway Heights brush fire extinguished; no injuries reported