Crime

2-acre grass fire stopped before reaching barn near Blaine

Firefighters clean up a grass fire at 3370 Sweet Road near Blaine on Tuesday morning, Aug. 4. The fire was knocked down within 30 minutes after burning two acres, a small shed and an old car, said acting North Whatcom Fire Chief Bill Pernett.
Firefighters clean up a grass fire at 3370 Sweet Road near Blaine on Tuesday morning, Aug. 4. The fire was knocked down within 30 minutes after burning two acres, a small shed and an old car, said acting North Whatcom Fire Chief Bill Pernett. The Bellingham Herald

A two-acre grass fire burned an old car and a small shed near Blaine, but firefighters stopped the fire before it spread to a barn Tuesday morning, Aug. 4.

Cynthia Brandenburger, the owner of the property at 3370 Sweet Road, was in her home when she first noticed the flames behind her barn around 11:15 a.m., in the middle of a grassy field surrounded by trees.

She got her dogs away from the fire, called 911 and ran over with garden hoses to try to extinguish the flames, but the fire was moving too quickly, she said.

“It all went really, really, really fast,” Brandenburger said. “I was on the phone with 911, and I watched it double (in size).”

The fire burned about two acres of grass, said acting North Whatcom Fire Chief Bill Pernett. Two fire engines, three brush trucks and two tenders responded, and firefighters knocked it down within half an hour, he said. The fire came within a few feet of burning the barn and was stopped short of the surrounding trees.

“This time of year, with all the dry weather we’ve had, the fire behavior is a lot more aggressive and if we get a fire to start for whatever reason, we’re trying to hit it up front with a lot of resources so we can overwhelm it right away,” Pernett said. “If you let it go, you can potentially get into the large timber and then you’re looking into a much bigger event.”

Nobody was injured, and there was minimal damage beyond the burnt shed and old car. Firefighters continued to clean up the area through the afternoon.

Fire Marshal’s Office investigator Mitch Nolze said the cause of the fire was still under investigation Tuesday.

Reach Wilson Criscione at 360-756-2803 or wilson.criscione@bellinghamherald.com.

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