Firefighters respond to back-to-back bark dust fires in Forest G - KPTV - FOX 12

Firefighters respond to back-to-back bark dust fires in Forest Grove

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FOREST GROVE, OR (KPTV) -

Firefighters said for two days in a row they responded to fires that started in bark dust in residents' yards. 

Manaleo Luna was in his basement with his family cooling off Monday, when his wife noticed smoke. "My first instinct was to turn off the power switch then my wife called 911", Luna said. Crews showed up at the home off Huntsman Way where crews quickly put out the blaze.

A day later, a second call came in to the department for a smaller fire at a home off Covey Run Drive. Both homes are on different streets in the neighborhood, but one thing they have one thing in common is bark dust.

David Nemeyer with Forest Grove fire said, "sometimes you'll see spontaneous combustion with it, a lot of times it's the disposal of cigarette butts, you flick it on this sidewalk on someone's bark dust and it creates a problem there." Nemeyer added the dust doesn't burn like wood but can smolder and heat underground for hours without showing signs of smoke. 

He recommends if you're a homeowner with bark dust in your front yard, simple tips could prevent big problems such as house fires.

They advise spraying it down when you water your lawn, stirring it up, and making sure it feels cool.

Crews are reminding folks while it's important to stay chilled this summer, it is also important to stay safe. Simple things like watering your outdoor decor, could go a long way towards prevention.

A volunteer firefighter helping with the fire off Huntsman Way was admitted to the hospital after experiencing heat exhaustion. Crews say she is back at home and doing okay.

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