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Evergreen firefighters extinguish 3/4-acre grass fire

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By Deb Hurley Brobst

Evergreen firefighters extinguished a grass fire that quickly grew to ¾ of an acre at around noon Saturday near the Evergreen Rodeo grounds, evidence that conditions in the area are ripe for wildfires.

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The fire, which was started accidentally, was put out by 25 firefighters and seven fire trucks in less than 30 minutes. The fire was within 20 feet of a home. Firefighters continued to monitor the area that afternoon and evening.

The person who started the fire was cited with misdemeanor arson, according to the EFR Twitter feed.

“(Our firefighters are) good, but we were also very lucky,” said EFR spokeswoman Stacee Martin. “I’ll be the first one to say luck is a beautiful thing. In some regards, some of the vegetation did help us, but it also hurt us. It was difficult for us to put in a containment line, but it was a good spot where there was water.”

The fire was on grassland between Chestnut and Hilltop drives about a half-mile east of Evergreen Parkway. Area residents stood outside watching the flames, which moved rapidly thanks to a stiff breeze.

Several residents on Hilltop said they called 911, and firefighters made quick work of extinguishing the flames. Residents were grateful that everything turned out well.

EFR Lt. John Emrich told residents that initially the wind made it difficult to put out the flames.

“We would put out a section, start working on another and then we’d turn around, and the first section was burning again,” he said. “It is super dry.”

Firefighters place a fire retardant around the fire to establish a fire line, and then they dig to “mineral earth” to help ensure the fire won’t spread, Emrich said.

“This was a complete accident, but the conditions are right for a fire,” Martin said. “Neighborhoods are doing mitigation, and we love it, but we’re always going to have that threat of fire. We will always be at risk.”

She said with the dry conditions, people need to be vigilant and call 911 if they see a column of smoke or flames. People have called because they smelled smoke from wildfires in other parts of the state, and while it’s no danger here, it’s better for firefighters to check rather than to wait with negative consequences.

Contact Deb Hurley Brobst at deb@evergreenco.com or 303-350-1041.