Summer Brush Fires Increase by 178% in Seattle

July 22, 2015 -Since June 1st, the Seattle Fire Department has responded to a 178% increase in brush fires. The warm, dry conditions are creating the perfect fuel for fires to burn.

By two p.m. today, the Seattle Firefighters has already responded to four brush fires and four beauty bark fires. The most serious fire started at 10:57 a.m. along the southbound lanes of I-5 at 130th. A fire burned from the freeway up the hillside charring a 200 foot by 100 foot section of dry grass and brush. The flames extended to ignite a tree and burn a section of concrete barrier at the top of the slope. It took five fire engines nearly an hour to completely extinguish the flames.

The fires today include:

Brush Fires:

  • 10:14 a.m. 3801 Discovery Park Blvd- Campfire extending to brush
  • 10:57 a.m.SB I5 at 130th-Brush Fire
  • 11:01 a.m. S Holgate St/5th Ave S- Brush Fire
  • 1:20 p.m. 9444 9th Av SW-Brush Fire

Beauty Bark Fires:

  • 6:12 a.m. 609 Yesler Way- Beauty Bark Fire
  • 6:48 a.m. 149 N 75th St-Beauty Bark Fire
  • 1:56 p.m. 1620 Melrose Avenue-Beauty Bark Fire

From June 1 to July 21 the Seattle Fire Department responded to 442 warm weather related fires. This includes 225 brush fires and 217 beauty bark fires. This is a 178% increase in brush fires and a 119% increase in beauty bark fires over 2014 responses.

During the same time period in 2014, the Seattle Firefighters responded to 180 fires including 81 brush fires and 99 beauty bark fires.

These fires pose a danger to those who live in a wildland/urban interface. There are steps homeowners can take to protect their properties.

  • Clear leaves and debris from roof, gutters, porches and decks.
  • Remove dead vegetation from under deck and porch and within 10 feet of house
  • Remove flammable wood piles, propane tanks away from homes and garage structures
  • Prune trees away from homes
  • For homes adjacent to large areas of greenbelt, consider defensible space between home and landscaping
  • Homes built on slopes should mitigate dead dry vegetation below and around structure.
  • Either keep lawn hydrated or if its’ brown, cut it down.
  • Practice an evacuation plan out of your home and out of your neighborhood.

A link to wildfire prevention tips:

WSP Wildland Fire Safety Tips

DNR Wildfire Prevention Tips