Fire at Turtleback Preserve

Submitted by the San Juan County Land Bank.

Late afternoon Wednesday, May 26, the Orcas Island Fire and Rescue responded to an isolated brush fire that moved from a neighbor’s burn pile into the southeast corner of the Land Bank’s Turtleback Mountain Preserve. The fire charred approximately one acre of grass and brush before being extinguished.

“Orcas Fire was quick to respond and prevent further spread into the Preserve,” explains Orcas Preserve Steward, Peter Guillozet. “We are grateful to the firefighters and neighbors who worked to put it out. Particularly as we head into fire season, we implore people to be extremely careful. It goes without saying that the public is prohibited from having fires on Land Bank Preserves.”

The Land Bank is working to reduce fire risks through thinning of unhealthy tree stands or maintaining fire breaks among other measures. We do also hope to employ carefully managed controlled burning in the future not just to mitigate large-scale fire risk but also to enhance our native savannas.

About the San Juan County Land Bank

The San Juan County Land Bank is a local land conservation program, created by voters in 1990, and funded by a 1% real estate excise tax paid by purchasers of property in San Juan County. Through conservation easements or outright purchases, the Land Bank protects special places in the Islands including coastlines, farmland, forests and wetlands. For more information, contact the Land Bank at 360-378-4402 or visit