Recently Sen. Maria Cantwell presented a map at a Senate Hearing showing unusually high fire danger in Western Washington. My mind flashed to a few months ago when Karen and I drove through the Paradise, Calif., burn area. It was quite sobering to see blocks and blocks of blackened lots with only chimneys or water heaters standing to hint where houses had once formed a vibrant community.
According to the Seattle Times weather page, we are heading into this summer with precipitation over four inches below normal. With fireworks season upon us, now my mind fast forwards to imagine what could happen here in a dry summer with a fireworks or otherwise started fire someplace south of Baby Island.
With a typical, or somewhat stronger than usual, northwest wind blowing there would be no stopping it before reaching the Cultus Bay area unless it was detected, caught and extinguished very early.
There is just too much forest fuel and no real fire break areas. The same scenario could play out with a fire originating west of Holmes Harbor, which likely wouldn’t stop till it reached the beach on the west side. It was just a couple years ago that a fireworks-started fire blackened the area of Highway 525 near the Double Bluff intersection. Luckily our fire crews put that out quickly.
It may be time to rethink guidelines for fireworks. At least I hope people bear in mind that this is already a drier than usual summer with high fire danger and they should have a hose at the ready. Better yet, limit fireworks to areas away from vegetation.