Transient arrested in connection to North Maple Fire


KELSO, Wash. (KOIN) — A 43-year-old transient man was arrested in connection to the North Maple Fire — the wildfire that damaged over 20 acres in Kelso.

The fire started on March 20 in the 700 block of N. Maple Hill Road and forced officials to order Level 3 “GO” evacuations for about 100 homes in the area.

No homes were lost, but several sheds were destroyed.

During the initial fire response, the Cowlitz County Sheriff’s Office said a man told a firefighter that he had been burning paper when the fire grew out of control. Investigators were able to determine the fire did originate from a burn pile. They noted there was no fire break around the burn pile.

A deputy was able to identify the man from the scene as Brian T. Smith. He was found Sunday and booked into the Cowlitz County Jail for reckless burning.

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