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Double Trouble - Cottonwood VFD crews hit two grass fires

"We were very fortunate"

— Cottonwood firefighters made short work of two minor grass fires set off in freak incidents Sunday afternoon, Aug. 6.

“We ended up having two at the same time,” said Chief Roy Uhlenkott, Cottonwood Volunteer Fire Department, with both controlled to small areas, having avoided any structure or property damage.

Both fires were accidentally caused and reported within two minutes of each other. On the first one, Idaho County Sheriff’s Dispatch received a 2:37 p.m. report from Andrew Terhaar of a fire near the water tower at Madison Avenue.

“A whirlwind picked up a piece of tin and brought it up into the powerlines,” Uhlenkott said, according to witness reports. The tin shorted the line, momentarily disrupting local power, and came down and started the fire. “Actually, it was quite small,” he said, ending up around 60 feet, and a Primeland crew had the blaze mostly out when a CVFD attack truck and four firefighters arrived on scene.

At 2:39 p.m., Tyler Ross advised of a fire behind Gem Builders and Mager Bargains, which Uhlenkott said crews could see from the fire station as they were dispatching to the first incident.

A possible issue with an electrical fence is the believed cause for this second fire reported between Angle and Front streets, he said. Three trucks and 10 firefighters responded, quickly extinguishing the blaze that burned around 400 to 500 square feet.

“We were very fortunate,” Uhlenkott said, as conditions and extended help worked to control these fires quickly, to small areas, and prevent their spread to adjacent structures. It’s not often the department is called out on two fires at once, so this was good practice for firefighters, he said.


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