Weather warms up, brush catches fire on North Whidbey

Fireman Ray Merrill hopes that a five-acre brush fire on North Whidbey will remind people that there’s a burn ban in the county, even if it has been a cold and wet summer until recently.

Merrill, the training officer for North Whidbey Fire and Rescue, said the fire was reported at 1:30 p.m. Wednesday in brush and grass near the intersection of Hastie Lake and Zylstra roads.

It took firefighters from North Whidbey Fire and Rescue, with assistance from the Oak Harbor Fire Department, about three hours to extinguish the stubborn flames. Merrill said it was difficult work for firefighters who had to navigate through thorny blackberry bushes with hoses and shovels.

Merrill said the fire started when a resident was burning boxes in his backyard, which he’s not supposed to be doing.

A burn ban went into effect in Island County Aug. 8. Outdoor fires are banned, except for those in fire pits, barbecues or camp stoves.

Summer finally arrived in September. Last week the high at Crockett Lake was 82 degrees,  while on the water at West Beach it was 72 degrees, according to WSU Extenstion. Both sites have recorded in excess of 2 more inches of rain than at the same time last year. This year’s total stands at 13.58 inches at Crockett Lake and 14.14 inches at West Beach.


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