Unwatched burn barrel blamed in Ridgefield blaze

Crews get 2-acre grass fire under control in an hour

By Dave Kern, Columbian assistant metro editor

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An unattended burn barrel fire is blamed for causing a 2-acre blaze in Ridgefield Monday evening, officials said.

The fire started at 5:15 p.m. at the 4200 block of Northeast 188th Street, Battalion Chief Tim Dawdy with Clark County Fire & Rescue said. He noted that outdoor burning is not currently allowed anywhere in Clark County.

Dawdy said the fire spread to nearby brushlands and traveled across at least two other properties.

Twenty-five firefighters fought the blaze and had it under control in an hour. Those firefighters are with Clark County Fire & Rescue, Fire District 6 and the state Department of Natural Resources. No one was hurt. The state crews stayed into Monday evening for mop-up duties.

"We want to warn people that there is a total burn ban on and … a small bit of carelessness can cause a lot of damage for you and your neighbors," Dawdy said. "Be very, very careful with barbecues." He stressed no outdoor fires are allowed until the burn ban is lifted.

The fire is under investigation by the Clark County Fire Marshal's Office and the DNR, Dawdy said.

Dawdy said the property owners who lit the burn barrel expressed regret.

"It (the barrel fire) was actually out and then it must have sparked, and the property behind us is overwhelmingly full of blackberries," said Sandra Stuhr, who lives at the property with her husband Todd.