Submitted by Orcas Fire and Rescue.
Orcas Island Fire personnel responded to reports of a grassfire in the 4200 block of Orcas Road at approximately 3:15 p.m. on Saturday, Aug. 28. Crews arrived to find one-half acre of grazing field consumed by flames reaching 4-feet high that involved a loaded hay wagon and surrounding grass.
The fire quickly spread, making a run toward power poles and a nearby wooded area. Crews battled hard to combat the fire and were able to get ahead of it enough to keep it from reaching the power poles. Some lower tree limbs became involved, and personnel was able to knock the fire down before the trees became fully involved.
A Department of Natural Resources helicopter was requested early in the efforts. Big Lake DNR helicopter #344 was able to shuttle over 800 gallons of water from the West Sound area, successfully assisting in extinguishing several hard-to-reach tree fires.
A local excavation company had equipment located on the adjacent property and assisted fire personnel by deploying a bulldozer which cut in a full perimeter fire barrier by pushing grass out of the way, exposing bare ground, and successfully stopping the growth of the fire.
There was one minor injury reported. The cause of the fire was determined to have started by spontaneous combustion in a large hay bale located on the wagon. By the time the fire was contained, it reached four-and-a-half acres involving the wagon, grass, brush and trees.
Orcas Island Fire and Rescue thanks all who assisted. The department is currently recruiting new firefighters — if you are interested, reach out by calling 360-376-2331 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.