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Terrace Drive brush fire snuffed out by rapid response

Garden shovel in hand, Sheriff
Garden shovel in hand, Sheriff's deputy Jeff Asher carves out a makeshift barrier to help slow the progress of an early afternoon grass fire Thursday, in the 100 block of Terrace Drive, on San Juan Island.
— image credit: Scott Rasmussen

San Juan Island firefighters gained quick control of an early afternoon blaze in the Terrace Drive neighborhood Thursday, thanks in part to a rapid response and a prevailing pattern of wind blowing away from a pair of homes near the scene.

They also got an assist from Sheriff's deputy Jeff Asher, who, with garden shovel in hand, carved out a fire break along the downslope of a grassy, rocky knoll, laden with dry brush, where the fire broke out at about 1 p.m.

Firefighters were forced to navigate a pair of narrow and steep gravel driveways in order to surround the fire and to bring hoses, water and equipment to the scene

"The biggest difficulty was the location," Chief Steve Marler of San Juan Island Fire Department said of battling the blaze. "It was in a spot where it was hard for us to get our eyeballs on it."

By about 1:25 p.m., firefighters had the upper hand on the blaze. It reportedly started as a steady breeze revived and then blew embers from a bonfire the previous night into the surrounding brush.

The fire left a wide swath of scorched earth across the top of the bluff — about 15 yards from the nearest home — where the bonfire had been the night before.

With daytime temperatures reaching into the lower 70s and a month or more without rain, Marler noted that the risk of fire remains "high" on the island.

 

 

 

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