SPOKANE, Wash. (AP) – A state investigation into the Labor Day fire that burned 80% of the homes in in the Whitman County town of Malden blames a damaged tree that was blown into power lines.
The report by the Department of Natural Resource alleges that a closer inspection of the tree was warranted.
The report does not specifically blame Avista Utilities for not inspecting or removing the tree.
But it does note that branches of the Ponderosa pine tree fell into Avista’s powerlines and ignited the brush beneath.
The strong winds then pushed the fire into Malden.
About 120 homes, eight commercial buildings and 94 other structures were destroyed in the wildfire.