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Firefighters stop runaway grass blaze

"Volunteers from Fire District 3 smother a Freeland grass fire with foam Friday.Matt Johnson / staff photoA poorly doused burn pile set a grassy, vacant Freeland lot ablaze Friday afternoon, threatening nearby houses and grasslands.At about 3 p.m., a Freeland Avenue resident called 911 to report an out-of-control grass fire. By the time Fire District 3 firefighters and Whidbey General Hospital paramedics arrived on scene, flames had burned nearly an acre of grass between two houses and were close to engulfing a small utility shed. But the fire looked worse than it really was. Firefighters contained and smothered the flames within minutes by laying down a layer of fire-retardent foam. By the time they were finished, the burned lot looked more like the victim of a sudden snowstorm than a grass fire.Paul Busch, assistant fire chief, said the fire started after a local resident failed to properly extinguish a burn pile on the lot Thursday. Winds on Friday stirred up the smoldering remains of the burn pile, then quickly spread the fire.No one was hurt in the blaze, nor did any structures suffer any damage. "

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