Tree falling on power line apparently caused wildfire in Malden, utility company says

MALDEN, Wash. — A utility company says a tree that made contact with a power line apparently started a wildfire that burned dozens of homes in eastern Washington.

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The fire burned the vast majority of homes in Malden and Pine City, including over 100 homes in Malden alone.

Avista Utilities spokeswoman Casey Fielder confirms a burned tree found by Spokesman-Review staff was the fire’s apparent starting point Sept. 7.

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Utility officials say they haven’t found evidence that any deficiencies in Avista’s equipment, maintenance or vegetation management caused recent fires.

About 200 residents of Malden fled as winds up to 50 mph drove flames toward the town.