Initial attack crews stop Beacon Hill brush fire

SPOKANE, Wash. - Fire crews worked quickly to knock down a brush fire on Beacon Hill Wednesday afternoon apparently stated by transients living in the area.

When crews arrived at the fire they found a couch and a mattress in flames.

"We could see a large column of smoke coming from several blocks away and so I went ahead an upgraded it with two more brush responses to get the crews up there," Battalion Chief Joel Fielder with the Spokane Fire Department said.

That initial attack, sending in a large number fire crews as first responders, helps small fires from spreading into bigger ones.

Beacon Hill fire

"For me the trick is to get a lot of crews coming right away, to get a quick knock down on it so it doesn't get away from ya," Fielder said.

In this case the fire was moving quickly because it had the benefit of burning uphill.

"What happens is as it's burning up the it pre-heats the fuels so they ignite faster and the last thing we want to do is put somebody above the fire and have that fire racing up right to them," Fielder said.

So instead the brush crews attacked the fire from its flanks, keeping it from spreading sideways, and then narrowed down the head of the fire until they stopped its advance.

"We got a scratch line, which is a dirt line, the guys work with their equipment, they cut around that and then we'll come back with a wet line, the guys have their brush rigs up there and wet down all the debris around that and then we'll start working on the hot spots," said Fielder.

Because Wednesday's fire was burning inside a tree line there is a lot of debris on the ground on fire, which meant that the Department of Natural Resources would have crews up on Beacon Hill for the rest of the afternoon conducting mop up operations.