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Seattle's Leading Local News: Weather, Traffic, Sports and More | Seattle, Washington | KING5.com

Firefighters urge residents impacted by Sumner Grade Fire to better prepare

Two homes were destroyed and six smaller buildings were also lost in the fire that grew to nearly 500 acres by Sept. 16.

SUMNER, Wash. — East Pierce Fire & Rescue will start a push to educate neighborhoods hit hardest by the Sumner Grade Fire.

Two homes were destroyed and six smaller buildings were also lost in the fire that forced Level 3 evacuations.

"The community -- some people came very close to losing their homes, literally flames lapping at their back doors," said Dina Sutherland, public information officer for East Pierce Fire.

The Washington State Department of Natural Resources reports as many as 80% of homes burned in wildfires could have been saved if they had good defensible space; a proper buffer around the home free of brush and vegetation.

Sutherland said the goal will be to get these neighborhoods to enroll in "firewise" communities.

"Some homes did not get touched and other homes right next-door were completely destroyed," she said. "There has to be some action by residence to help us help you to make sure that their homes can stay safe if we have this threat again."

The Sumner Grade Fire grew fast due to conditions like low humidity, heavy wind, and warm temperatures.

Nearly 500 acres burned.

"We know that this will continue to be a challenge, let's just hope it's not on the scale that we just witnessed this last week," Sutherland said.