’Tis the season: Pair of brush fires in Jefferson County underscores dangers of summer season
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A Jefferson County Fire-Rescue firefighter works one of the two Sunday brush fires. —Photo by Bill Beezley/East Jefferson Fire-Rescue

By Charlie Bermant
Peninsula Daily News

PORT TOWNSEND — Two small brush fires in Jefferson County over the weekend are a reminder that people need to be especially aware of their fire footprint, according to fire safety officials.

“Every indication is that we are going to have a hot, dry summer at least in the next few weeks,” said East Jefferson Fire-Rescue spokesman Bill Beezley.

“People need to be really careful about their fires.

“They need to make sure that all cigarettes are completely out before they dispose of them, and they need to realize that the only out campfire is a cold campfire.”

The first fire was discovered a little past noon Saturday when it was spotted by passers-by on state Highway 104 near Uncas.

When responders arrived, dry grass and underbrush were burning beneath the power lines and encroaching on trees bordering the area.

The area burned by the fire was estimated to be approximately 200 feet by 50 feet.

Firefighters from Quilcene Fire District No. 2, Discovery Bay Fire District No. 5, East Jefferson Fire-Rescue District No. 1, Port Ludlow Fire District No. 3 and the state Department of Natural Resources responded and had the fire contained within 30 minutes.

State Patrol also called the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives to the scene.

Upon arrival, State Patrol determined the fire was started by two individuals who were target shooting and using Tannerite, a two-part powder mixed and used in exploding targets.

Tannerite was discovered in a preliminary investigation and is believed to have caused the fire, according to a news release.

The individuals were questioned, but no information was immediately available about their identities or possible charges against them.

During the incident, the Seattle Division of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives and the State Patrol Bomb Squad were on the scene until it was cleared at about 3 p.m., according to Russ Winger, a State Patrol spokesman.

According to fire officials, the area under the power lines off Highway 104 is frequently used for target practice.

An old refrigerator and some cooking utensils were found riddled with bullet holes.

Crews remained on the scene to assist with an investigation. No injuries were reported.

The second fire took place around 2 p.m. Sunday near the intersection of Rhody Drive and Irondale Road in Port Hadlock.

The brush fire, located approximately 100 feet west of Rhody Drive, was limited to an area of about 75 feet by 25 feet.

By the time firefighters arrived, two passers-by had used hand tools to control the blaze, Beezley said.

An investigation determined that the fire started from a smoldering transient campfire nearby.

The fire traveled through the brush for about 20 feet before entering a field and growing in size.

When firefighters arrived, the transient’s belongings were found but no one was nearby.

Firefighters remained on scene for approximately one hour to spray water on hot spots.

“We’re into the dry, summer fire season now,” said East Jefferson Fire Rescue Deputy Chief Ted Krysinski.

“These wildland fires can really take off quickly, so calling 9-1-1 and ensuring your personal safety is most important.”


Jefferson County Editor Charlie Bermant can be reached at 360-385-2335 or cbermant@peninsuladailynews.com.

Last modified: July 14. 2014 6:32PM
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