Photo provided.
                                Smoke rises from a large pile of logging debris that caught fire around midnight on Tuesday at Kempton Place. The pile was created from clearing for a county road project.

Photo provided. Smoke rises from a large pile of logging debris that caught fire around midnight on Tuesday at Kempton Place. The pile was created from clearing for a county road project.

Pile of logging debris catches fire, put out by Central Whidbey Fire

Logging debris from a county road project caught fire just after midnight Tuesday and burned until around 8 a.m. that morning, according to Central Whidbey Island Fire and Rescue Chief Ed Hartin.

A section of a pile of logging slash on Kempton Place from clearing done to make way for Oakes Road started to smolder late Monday night.

The pile was approximately 35 feet tall, 60 feet wide and 70 feet long, Hartin said.

“It’s prone to heating up by itself,” said Hartin of the logging material.

Such a large pile of ground up timber heats up as the wood products decompose. If the smolder hits the surface of the pile and meets oxygen, it combusts. From the ground, the flames reached around 40 feet tall, Hartin said.

Combustion can be avoided if the piles are spread out, Hartin said, but the large pile that caught fire was the last one scheduled to be moved.

Central Whidbey firefighters initially responded and dug a fire line around the pile, Hartin said.

Crews from Island County Public Works arrived with an excavator to pull the pile apart and allow water to get to the flames inside.

Later, an engine from the Department of Natural Resources arrived around 3 a.m. and relieved the Central Whidbey firefighters.

There weren’t any structures in danger, but surrounding vegetation in the wooded area was a concern, Hartin said. Once the fire line was dug around it, the main issue was how long it took to fully put out the embers.

An Island County Public Works excavator spreads out a large pile of logging debris that caught fire Monday night. Photo provided

An Island County Public Works excavator spreads out a large pile of logging debris that caught fire Monday night. Photo provided

More in News

Man gets 6 months for ‘communicating with a minor for immoral purposes’

A 32-year-old petty chief in the Navy originally accused of raping a… Continue reading

Community Green is open

The Town of Coupeville has announced that the newly improved public parking… Continue reading

Music Festival sponsorships available

Oak Harbor Music Festival is now open for 2019 sponsorship opportunities. Festival… Continue reading

After 40 years, SVC closing its South Whidbey Center

Skagit Valley College will likely shutter classrooms on South Whidbey after teaching… Continue reading

Mental health patient flees ER, steals car, leads chase

A mental health patient left the hospital against doctor’s orders, stole a… Continue reading

Photo by Maria Matson/Whidbey News-Times
                                Water Aerobics instructor Christine Burton leads a class.
Pool fixes to be completed before summer’s end

John Vanderzicht Memorial Pool in Oak Harbor is back in business, with… Continue reading

County awards land preservation grants

Island County commissioners last week awarded grants to two projects that will… Continue reading

Groundbreaking July 25 for next Habitat Home

The public is invited to attend a groundbreaking ceremony for a new… Continue reading

Most Read