Many Whatcom residents have reported seeing a large fire northeast of Interstate 5 near the Birch Bay Lynden Road exit the past few days and have smelled smoke in the area, but North Whatcom Fire and Rescue says it’s nothing to worry about.
“It’s a permitted DNR (Department of Natural Resources) burn,” North Whatcom Division Chief Henry Hollander told The Bellingham Herald. “It’s probably a 20- to 30-acre burn, but it’s permitted by the DNR. .... We’ve received multiple calls that think it’s a house fire, but it’s just a permitted burn.”
The most recent call came in at 8:22 p.m. Thursday night to the 2300 block of Willeys Lake Road, just east of Custer.
Social media reports said flames were high enough that it appeared the trees were on fire.
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The good news is DNR spokesperson Janet Pearce says Friday is the final day of the permit. She added that the burns now should help reduce the chance of wildfire on the land this summer when conditions get hotter and drier.
“The resident had about 75 tons to burn, but after today he will not be lighting any more,” Pearce told The Herald. “Residents will see smoke the next couple of days as the fire burns out, but it should be done soon.”