North Spokane fires close Highway 2, force people from their homes

North Spokane fires close Highway 2, force people from their homes

Firefighters have contained two brush fires burning miles a part from one another in north Spokane County.

The Pit fire, started right off Highway 2, Tuesday afternoon and burned two acres. The fire closed Highway 2 for a period of time. Firefighters told KXLY there were several ignition points.

Firefighters from six different agencies quickly knocked the fire down, only to have another fire start miles up the road.

The second fire, the Laurel fire, was also right off Highway 2. It burned about 50 acres and threatened dozens of homes. This fire also closed a stretch of Highway 2.

Residents in the area had to leave their homes at a moments notice. Many people, like Alisha Lapano, got word of the fire while they were at work.

“Little bit of panic,” Lapano said. “Nobody was home, but the pets were. I was scared for them.”

Fire crews worked quickly on the ground, with the help of air support to contain the Laurel fire. No homes were lost, but a flatbed trailer was destroyed.

Around 8 p.m. on Tuesday evacuation notices were lifted and residents were allowed back home to see just how close the fire got to their homes. For many, burned black ground now resting on the edge of their property line.

The cause of both fires is still under investigation.

“There’s accidental reasons that could happen. People traveling up and down the highway towing a trailer, a safety chain that comes unhooked and bounces along the highway throwing sparks,” said Randy Johnson, Spokane County Fire District 4 chief.

With a dry streak edging close to 30 days, firefighters are warning people to stay vigilant for fire starts.

“Really, every fire is a concern now because the fire danger is getting close to being very high,” said Guy Gifford with the Washington DNR.