Lt. Patty Reifenstahl of Clallam County Fire District No. 2 digs a line around a grass fire in the Black Diamond area south of Port Angeles on Tuesday. Jay Cline/Clallam County Fire District No. 2

Landowner must pay costs of response after brush fire in Port Angeles; no permit obtained for what started as controlled burn

PORT ANGELES — A landowner on Hoare Road will be held liable for fire-suppression costs after a brush fire burned about a half-acre of his property and came within 400 feet of a neighbor’s home earlier this week, Clallam County Fire District No. 2 Fire Chief Sam Phillips said.

Eric Hedin, owner of 545 Hoare Road, will be presented with an invoice for the costs of the fire suppression because he did not have a burn permit, Phillips said.

The Tuesday afternoon brush fire in the Black Diamond area created smoke visible from downtown Port Angeles during the heat of the afternoon.

It was from an extinguished controlled burn, done two days earlier, that had re-ignited and spread in two directions: to within 200 feet of grazing livestock and to within 400 feet of a neighboring house, Phillips said.

The fire was reported at 2:46 p.m. by a neighbor who saw the smoke and flames approaching her property and livestock.

Firefighters arrived at 3:05 p.m. to find the fire moving uphill toward the neighbor’s home as it was fanned by intermittent winds.

The residents of the home “were quite anxious,” he said.

Nine firefighters using two engines and one water tender controlled the fire, keeping it to a half-acre, at about 4:45 p.m. with Hedin’s assistance, as well as that of neighbors and state Department of Natural Resources personnel.

No one was hurt, and no structures were damaged.

DNR, a partner agency, was asked to respond and sent one engine and two supervisors. The engine was canceled when it was determined it would not be needed.

DNR was to keep tabs on the site Wednesday to ensure it is fully extinguished, Phillips said.

Phillips said Hedin, who was clearing the land to build a house, had extinguished the controlled burn before a county-wide burn ban came into effect Tuesday.

He had returned several times to push earth over the burn, the last time Tuesday morning. But heat and wind roused the flames again.

“Permits are always required for land-clearing,” Phillips said.

“Sometimes people don’t understand when a permit is required,” he added, urging people to consult fire personnel before lighting outdoors fire.

For more details on the burn ban, which is in effect until Sept. 30, visit http://tinyurl.com/PDN-clallamburnrestrictions.

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