Firefighters from San Juan Island, Lopez Island and the state Department of Natural Resources helped Orcas Island firefighters extinguish a wildland fire at the end of Lime Kiln Quarry Road on Orcas Island. The fire department received several calls from residents - including one boater - who spotted a column of smoke about 8 p.m. Friday, July 14, 2017.
Aerial photo of the fire Friday night
A pilot helped track down the location of the fire which covered approximately one quarter of an acre when firefighters arrived. The private property is located near Turtleback Mountain but is not part of the preserve.
Despite the rugged terrain and difficult access, the combined effort of the four agencies limited the fire to approximately an acre is size and it was extinguished in less than 24 hours.
Due to the type of fire fuel in the burn area, hot spots will remain at the fire scene for many days to come. Orcas Island Fire Department will have teams conduct fire checks multiple times per day for the coming week; then will continue to monitor for as long as is necessary depending on findings. Given the type of fuel, it would not be uncommon for these checks to continue for weeks.
No structures were lost in the fire and no injuries were reported to any community member or fire fighting personnel. The cause of the fire is unknown and under investigation at this time.
Orcas Island Fire & Rescue thanks the mutual aid responders: Department of Natural Resources, Lopez Fire, and San Juan Fire. They also like to thank the Fire Auxiliary for providing nourishment to the fire crews, Greg Sawyer for use of his airplane, and Camp Orkila for use of their boat. OIFR would like to give special recognition to Captain Chad Kimple who acted as Incident Commander for the entire event. He coordinated a complicated fire scene with multiple agencies and responders leading to the very positive end result achieved.