Controlled Burns are getting of Control - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

Controlled Burns are getting of Control

YAKIMA, Wa -  Firefighters say some brush fires could be avoided if people took some basic safety precautions when they do a controlled burn.

"I just started the fire right here and then it was burned out. Burned all the way down," says John White.  At least that is what he thought.

White never imagined that the controlled burn he was doing on Tuesday night could have burned ten acres and caused close to $3,000 in damages.

"Kinda looked out the window and I seen smoke building up," says White.

He was inside his house watching television when he noticed the fire started burning again.  He had no water nearby and no phone to call 9-1-1.

"The flame went over about two feet and then hit that dry grass," says White, "And then it started spreading real fast."

Wind blew the fire over to some cheet grass and then it took about 50 seconds for acres to go up in flames.

"It's frustrating, especially when little things can be done to prevent fire from spreading," says Kevin Frazier, Deputy Fire Chief of Yakima Fire District #5. 

He says people usually make three simple mistakes when a controlled burns turn into a brush fire like this.  There are no fuel brakes around the controlled burn, no water nearby, and the fire is left unattended.

"Embers can sit there for days, underneath the ashes, being hot," says Frazier, "So you can burn on a Monday and come Wednesday have the wind blow and still have that fire danger there."

Frazier says most people don't know how to put out a fire properly.  He says they need to drown the fire in water and then stir the ashes.

John White seems like he's learning from his mistakes. 

"I'm going to make sure there are other people around and make sure I have a telephone," says White.

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