A wildfire swept through about an acre of Dancing Seeds Farm near the intersection of Beaverton Valley Road and Egg Lake Road on San Juan Island, the afternoon of Wednesday, Sept. 5. The fire was close to the rock islanders paint.
San Juan Island Fire and Rescue Chief Brad Creesy said the fire erupted from a sparked lawnmower engine. The driver was able to jump off of the vehicle before the fire spread. The smoldering piece of farm equipment was seen after the blaze subsided.
San Juan County Fire and Rescue received a call about the fire at 2:55 p.m. and the island’s emergency medical services members were called to assist at 3:11 p.m. By about 3:45 p.m., the fire was contained.
Capt. Tad Lean with the fire department said this is roughly the fifth wildfire in the area this summer, including on July 15 when a historic weapons artillery demonstration ignited a fire at American Camp, which is part of the San Juan Island National Historical Park.
Lean said wildfires are common in the summer on San Juan when conditions are dry.
“I’m surprised we haven’t had more,” he said.
According to the online U.S. Drought Monitor, the San Juans is experiencing a drought. The islands were classified as “abnormally dry” during the last week of available data, which was during the week of Aug. 28. This is the second-lowest classification on the drought scale.