SNOHOMISH — Arcing power lines sparked a three-acre brush fire in Snohomish, knocking out electricity to thousands Thursday afternoon. The high school’s backup generators turned on, and nearly sparked a second fire shortly after.
A tree likely pushed on a power line in the 900 block of Ludwig Road, said Neil Neroutsos, a spokesman with Snohomish County PUD. Flames spread quickly among brush and blackberry bushes around 1:15 p.m. Downed electrical wires were on fire and arcing.
The heat also posed challenges for firefighters, said Chief Ron Simmons with Fire District 4. Temperatures reached the mid-80s Thursday.
“We were overwhelmed almost immediately,” Simmons said.
Additional crews were called in from other areas of the county to help.
Firefighters controlled the flames before they reached nearby homes.
Meanwhile, a Snohomish High School administrator noticed smoke on campus and pulled the alarm, said spokeswoman Kristin Foley. The backup generators were smoking. Students got out of the school safely.
Power also was cut from Riverview Elementary.
Many of the buses were delayed taking students home Thursday afternoon, Foley said.
About 6,000 people in Snohomish and southeast Everett lost power.
Service was restored to most of those customers within a few hours.
The PUD and Bonneville Power Association were looking into what caused the electrical problem.