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Logging Helicopter Starts Colville Fire

The crash of a helicopter in the Colville National Forest has resulted in an early season forest fire. The chopper was working near Pierre Lake when it went down Thursday afternoon.

The pilot was taken to the hospital in Colville, where she received treatment while in stable condition. The crash sparked a small but hot forest fire, something Colville forest spokesperson Franklin Pemberton says is unusual. He says the Colville Forest is significantly drier than it normally is in May.

Pemberton: "We're seeing moderate intensity on the fire already, and it did so as well last night, which is almost unheard of in May. Typically in May we have cool enough nights and enough ambient moisture that the fire danger is reduced, but we didn't see that last night. The fire actually burned moderately."

As of Thursday afternoon, about 100 firefighters were battling the flames. Pemberton says they considered closing the Pierre Lake campground, but they ended up not needing to after officials got control of the fire.

Steve was part of the Spokane Public Radio family for many years before he came on air in 1999. His wife, Laurie, produced Radio Ethiopia in the late 1980s through the '90s, and Steve used to “lurk in the shadowy world” of Weekend SPR. Steve has done various on air shifts at the station, including nearly 15 years as the local Morning Edition host. Currently, he is the voice of local weather and news during All Things Considerd, writing, editing, producing and/or delivering newscasts and features for both KPBX and KSFC. Aside from SPR, Steve ,who lives in the country, enjoys gardening, chickens, playing and listening to music, astronomy, photography, sports cars and camping.
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