PIERCE COUNTY, Wash. - Fire crews near Bonney Lake scrambled to douse a small brush fire that sparked in an area haunted by a wildfire that burned hundreds of acres and destroyed several homes last year.
As warm weather continues through the next several days, firefighters warn the public to begin thinking about wildfire threats within their communities.
In 2020, the Sumner Grade Fire burned more than 700 acres, destroyed half a dozen homes and damaged more than a dozen more near Graham.
Monday afternoon, drivers and neighbors called 911 reporting smoke and fire rising in the brush along SR 410 just west of Bonney Lake.
Fire crews scrambled to get into place, including their footing on the steep hillside. They arrived to find 400 feet of fire burning. Hoses sprayed water and axes were used to dig into the soil, the crews trying to uproot any hotspots that could keep the fire alive.
This neighborhood down below the freeway had seen danger like this before. Last year, the Sumner Grade Fire scorched the earth that can still be seen in the same neighborhood.
We spoke with one man who lived through it, and firefighters talking about the danger this season.
"We just thought, ‘here we go again,’" said homeowner Mike Martin.
Across and down the street, home after home have since been repaired after last year’s wildfire damaged multiple structures. Fire claimed two homes nearby.
That’s why local firefighters are planning to work with neighboring communities to prepare homeowners for wildfire threats. Local lawmakers are joining the effort which is scheduled for this Wednesday afternoon.
Those interested can sign up here.
While Monday’s fire was swept up rather quickly, firefighters warn the danger is growing with the rising temperatures.
"Be careful," said Battalion Chief Justin Doyle from East Pierce Fire & Rescue. "Watch for fires and call them in as fast as you can."
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