Tour Commander, 509.625.7100
Monday, April 27, 2020 at 4:17 p.m.
At 12:38 pm the Spokane Fire Department was dispatched to the report of a fire in the alley behind a home on the 1400 block of E. Dalton Ave. Upon arrival, fire crews found a pickup truck camper parked in the alley at the rear of the residence that was fully involved with fire. Crews worked rapidly to extinguish the fire as high winds were threatening to spread the fire onto a garage located nearby.
?As firefighters worked to control the initial incident they were alerted to a second fire that was developing on the roof of a home one block to the east. High winds were responsible for carrying flaming debris to the roof a home in the 1500 block of E. Liberty Ave. Several firefighters were pulled from the initial incident and were reassigned to the control the second fire. Neighbors utilized garden hoses to keep the fire in check while firefighters re-positioned equipment in order to address the developing fire. Fortunately the fire was rapidly extinguished and damage to the home was kept to a minimum.
The home where the fire was developing had an aged roof which was covered by cedar shakes. Cedar shakes are inherently less fire resistant than other roofing materials and as they age any protective properties or chemical retardants rapidly wear away, thus making them vulnerable to the spread of fire. While the beauty of a roof covered in wooden shingles or shakes is hard to deny, firefighters would encourage those living in areas frequented by wildfire to replace wooden roof coverings with materials like metal or asphalt roofing products that possess a higher margin of safety.
The weather in Spokane is beginning to warm up, and as we enter our local wildfire season the Spokane Fire Department would like to take this opportunity to remind homeowners to consider the following fire preparedness tips:
Clear leaves and other debris from gutters, eaves, porches and decks. This prevents embers from igniting your home.
Remove dead vegetation and other items from under your deck or porch, and within 10 feet of the house.
Screen or box-in areas below patios and decks with wire mesh to prevent debris and combustible materials from accumulating.
Remove flammable materials (firewood stacks, propane tanks) within 30 feet of your home’s foundation and outbuildings, including garages and sheds. If it can catch fire, don’t let it touch your house, deck or porch.
Wildfire can spread to tree tops. Prune trees so the lowest branches are 6 to 10 feet from the ground.
Keep your lawn hydrated and maintained. If it is brown, cut it down to reduce fire intensity. Dry grass and shrubs are fuel for wildfire.
Don’t let debris and lawn cuttings linger. Dispose of these items quickly to reduce fuel for fire.
Inspect shingles or roof tiles. Replace or repair those that are loose or missing to prevent ember penetration. Consider replacing wooden roof materials with safer choices. Many wood shake or shingled roofs have long since lost the chemical coatings that help with fire resistance.
Cover exterior attic vents with metal wire mesh no larger than 1/8 inch to prevent sparks from entering the home.
Enclose under-eave and soffit vents or screens with metal mesh to prevent ember entry.
Learn more about how to protect your home and property at www.firewise.org.