Two men in wildfire area arrested for setting back burns that endangered others

TWISP, Wash. -- Two men were arrested for allegedly setting back burns to try to save property during the wildfires but that they got out of control, with one of them almost trapping a fire crew, Okanogan County Sheriff Frank Rogers confirmed Monday.

Back burns are fires started to burn fuels in the path of an oncoming blaze.

Rogers said those arrested on suspicion of arson were Larry E. Smith, 63, and Radley J. Hastings, 62.

Smith lit a fire near Benson Creek in rural Twisp on Friday, Rogers said, but it got out of control and burned some property.

Rogers said Hastings lit a back burn late Sunday morning to try to keep the wildfire from burning his house, but that it went the wrong way and nearly trapped a group of firefighters in a canyon. Luckily, no one was injured.