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Idaho chip fire not new, may smolder for months

By The Associated Press
Published On: Jul 28 2013 11:19:31 AM MDT
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LEWISTON, Idaho -

A fire in a giant pile of wood chips east of Lewiston filling the skies with fragrant smoke could smolder for months.
    
But the Lewiston Tribune (http://tinyurl.com/k5wezey ) reports the fire at the site owned by Groundcovers International, a landscaping wholesaler, is nothing new.
    
Fire officials say they're called to the site as many as a half-dozen times annually, due to fires that start by themselves.
    
Though most are put out quickly, Nez Perce County Rural Fire Chief Ron Hall says gusty winds made tackling this blaze more difficult.
    
Crews initially worried a 30-foot fire break surrounding the wood chips might not be adequate to keep it from advancing down a nearby canyon - and threaten homes above the Clearwater River Casino.
    
The landscaping company estimates the financial damage at $500,000.