Grass fire serves as reminder of continuing fire danger

A WCFD7 firefighter can be seen with a yellow water pack on their back to get water onto a grass fire on Paradise Road 2018-09-05
A WCFD7 firefighter heads toward a grass fire on Paradise Road with a personal water pack on their back that enables spraying water on the fire in tight places (September 5, 2018). Photo: My Ferndale News

Whatcom County fire districts continue to maintain fire safety burn bans and a quick-spreading grass fire today served as an example why.

Whatcom County Fire District 7 (WCFD7) was dispatched to the 1300 block of Paradise Road, between Barrett Road and Northwest Drive, this afternoon around 2:45pm after a passerby noticed “the whole hill was on fire.”

WCFD7 Fire Chief Larry Hoffman said the property owner had wet down the grass around where he was doing some metal work on a vehicle. But it apparently was not enough as he soon discovered grass on fire behind him.

The passerby said he joined the property owner and attempted to knock down the fire with a garden house but it was already spreading rapidly westward down the hill. Hoffman said about an acre of the hillside was on fire when they arrived and a plume of dark smoke gave no doubt as to the location.

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The area was scattered with piles of building material and vehicles making it more difficult to get all the hot spots Hoffman said. In addition, there were numerous wasp and/or hornet nests in the area making firefighting all the more difficult.

Some of the firefighters could be seen donning yellow water packs on their backs that connect to manual pumps and spray nozzles making it easier to spray water onto the fire in tight areas.

There was minimal property damage and no injuries as a result of the fire according to Hoffman.

Hoffman said this should serve as a reminder that fire danger remains high. “This fire spread so fast, they never had a chance to put it out with a garden hose,” Hoffman said.

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