All it takes is a spark: Dry conditions cause increase in structure fires

MARYSVILLE, Wash. — Marysville fire officials say hot weather and more than 40 days without measurable rainfall has firefighters responding to structure fires at a rate they haven’t seen in a decade.

The increased fire danger in Marysville and throughout Snohomish County, along with several damaging fires, has fire authorities urging neighbors to take extra precautions.

Since July 19, Marysville Fire District firefighters have been called to more than a dozen fires that involved structures or vegetation.

That rate nearly doubles the average weekly fire responses during June 2021, the fire district said.

“Don’t underestimate how dry our grass and other vegetation is right now. We recommend avoiding all outdoor burning if you can. It is going to take all of us to keep our community safe this summer,” Marysville Fire Marshal Tom Maloney said.

An outdoor burn ban in Snohomish County currently prohibits all outdoor burning except barbecues and small recreational fires, within certain guidelines.

A fire on July 25 that damaged a fence and garage on Eighth Street in Marysville was started by a spark from a recreational fire pit. Fire crews were able to put out the flames before they reached a home.

Officials said improperly discarded smoking materials caused two other recent fires. One destroyed a home on 59th Street Northeast in Marysville on July 23.

On Monday, another fire damaged the siding of a home on 84th Place Northeast.

Fire officials are urging people to be cautious when using any potential heat source, such as cigarettes, cooking appliances, vehicles, or anything else that can create a spark.

They recommend:

  • Dousing cigarette butts or smoking materials in water before throwing them away. Do not put out cigarettes in planter boxes, bark or vegetation.
  • Staying in the kitchen or by your grill when cooking.
  • Avoiding parking on dry grass and ensure no chains are hanging from your vehicle that could create a spark.
  • Avoiding using weed burners. Mow lawns in the early morning or evening hours, if possible.