Seattle Fire Department warns of warm weather fire increases

The Seattle Fire Department has responded to a dramatic increase of brush and beauty bark fires compared to previous years. From June 1 to July 21 the Seattle Fire Department responded to 442 warm weather related fires.

This number includes 225 brush fires– a 178% increase since last month–and nearly triple the 81 brush fires of 2014’s June and July. Beauty bark fires total to around 220 incidents this summer compared to last year’s 99 incidents.

Fire Chief Harold Scoggins says the warm, dry conditions act as ideal fuel for fires to burn.

In response, Scoggins led an informational meeting yesterday morning in Discovery Park, lending tips to wildland or urban residents on how to protect their homes and property against the dramatic rise in warm weather fires. Preventive steps are as follows:

  • Clear leaves and debris from roof, gutters, porches and decks.
  • Remove dead vegetation from under deck and porch and within 10 feet of house
  • Remove flammable wood piles, propane tanks away from homes and garage structures
  • Prune trees away from homes
  • For homes adjacent to large areas of greenbelt, consider defensible space between home and landscaping
  • Homes built on slopes should mitigate dead dry vegetation below and around structure.
  • Either keep lawn hydrated or if its’ brown, cut it down.
  • Practice an evacuation plan out of your home and out of your neighborhood.
Engine Company 41 demonstrating ways to battle brush fires/ Seattle Fireline
Engine Company 41 demonstrating ways to battle brush fires/ Seattle Fireline

Only a few hours after the meeting concluded, Seattle firefighters had already responded to four brush fires and four beauty bark fires, according to Seattle Fireline.

Of the brush fires yesterday, an early afternoon brush fire on SB I5 at 130th led from the freeway up the hillside charring a 200 ft. by 100 ft. section of dry brush and stalling the freeway. Five fire engines were required for nearly an hour to extinguish the flames.

Additionally, at 3:20 p.m. yesterday, attention was given to a bark fire in Ballard 24th Ave. NW and NW 90th St. As of this morning, already an 8:30 a.m. a bark fire occurred at Ne Northgate Way and 5th Av Ne; and at 1:20 p.m., the fire department arrived at the site of a brush fire on Magnolia Blvd W.

Additional tips on fire safety and prevention are provided by Seattle Fireline:
WSP Wildland Fire Safety Tips
DNR Wildfire Prevention Tips

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