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Originally published July 8, 2013 at 6:20 PM | Page modified July 8, 2013 at 9:15 PM

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Fireworks may have started blaze near Lake Chelan

The wildfire that burned more than 3 square miles above the north shore of Lake Chelan was 70 percent contained by Monday evening.

The Associated Press

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I'm sure it was a good idea at the time! "Let's set these off from the boat!... MORE
Stupid yokels. MORE


MANSON, Chelan County — Fireworks set off by someone in a boat on the Fourth of July may have started the wildfire that burned more than 3 square miles above the north shore of Lake Chelan, a Department of Natural Resources spokeswoman said.

Investigators would like to find whoever reportedly set off fireworks from a boat on the lake near Manson, said spokeswoman Janet Pearce in Olympia.

The fire burned grass, brush and scattered trees on private and Forest Service land. By Monday evening, the fire was 70 percent contained and the chance it could threaten structures was significantly reduced, fire managers said.

Nearly 100 firefighters were demobilized to make them available for other fires. About 230 remained to mop up hot spots with help from three helicopters, which have been dipping water from Lake Chelan.

Another wildfire has burned about 1 square mile of grass and some timber on the Colville Indian Reservation in Lincoln County. It was 60 percent contained Monday, with firefighters mostly mopping up. It also broke out Thursday and was human-caused, although the exact cause has not been determined, Pearce said.

Unless a wildfire is started by lightning, it’s considered to have been caused by a human in some way, she said, even if a power line falls down, for example.

With high temperatures around 100 degrees, breezy winds and lots of people outdoors over the Fourth of July weekend in Eastern Washington, fires could have been far worse.

Continuing winds and low humidity remain a concern as the summer goes along. By the end of July, trees will be dry and a fire could really take off, Pearce said.

“We could have a very bad fire season,” she said. “That depends on what people do and on lightning strikes.”

“We’re trying to get the prevention message out,” Pearce said.

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