A lucky break may have prevented a bad fire situation on the Lummi Reservation south of the Silver Reef Casino from getting much worse Thursday afternoon.
Whatcom County Fire District No. 7 crews out of Ferndale were on their way to lend assistance to Bellingham Fire Department crews at a residential structure fire at 3408 Lena Road near the Lummi Island Ferry terminal. On their way, District No. 7 Chief Larry Hoffman said they came upon a grass fire in the 4600 block of Haxton Way.
"We were very fortunate that we were dispatched to that structure fire and were on our way down there, because when we saw that fire, it was lapping up against the back of a fireworks stand," Hoffman said. "It hadn't even been called in yet."
With the help of North Whatcom Fire crews, District No. 7 was able to keep flames away from the fireworks stand and put out the grass fire, and the Department of Natural Resources is now watching the area to make sure nothing sparks back up. Hoffman estimated an acre to an acre and a quarter was burned by a fire he said likely was started by someone lighting fireworks.
"It's a good reminder that even though there's burn ban, it's pretty dry out there," Hoffman said. "If you're using fireworks in these dry conditions, especially with the wind, it can get pretty dangerous."
Meanwhile, the cause of the Lena Road fire, which ended up destroying an outbuilding and three RVs on the property, is still under investigation, Bellingham Fire Assistant Chief Bill Hewett said.
The fire also burned some blackberry bushes on the property and damaged a couple of other outbuildings and a chicken coop. Fortunately, there was only one chicken in the coop at the time of the fire, Hewett said, but "we're not sure of the fate of the chicken at this time."
No other injuries were reported at either fire.
The day of the fires was corrected July 6, 2018.