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Abandoned brush burn kicks up off Cultus Bay Road

A deserted slash burn off of Cultus Bay Road that was kicked up by strong wind gusts Thursday had to be doused by South Whidbey Fire/EMS.

“It was four large brush piles that they lit on fire, and they were actually burning into the brush,” said Deputy Chief Jon Beck, who was the commanding officer at the fire. “It was an uncontrolled burn.”

Beck said 10 volunteers from the fire protection district used 3,500 gallons of water and 7 gallons of foam to knock out the fire. They had to extinguish the burn just south of Deer Lake Road because it was moving toward the nearby brush, Beck said. Wind gusts kicked up the flames after the person in charge of the fire had left. Beck was not aware if it was a county-permitted burn.

“That’s why they say you have to be there,” he said.

Chief Rusty Palmer said the recent string of high temperatures, clear skies and wind have begun to dry out the grasses on South Whidbey. He and other fire district officials have begun discussing a county-wide burn ban, though that decision is ultimately up to Sheriff Mark Brown, Island County’s fire marshal.

“Things are starting to dry out pretty well,” Palmer said. “We have some chest-high grass in some areas, the rain helps those.”

Last year, a county-wide burn ban was issued after Independence Day.

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