East Jefferson Fire Rescue and the Washington Department of Natural Resources are battling a fire on Protection Island. At approximately 2:20 p.m. Wednesday, smoke was reportedly seen from the south …
East Jefferson Fire Rescue and the Washington Department of Natural Resources are battling a fire on Protection Island. At approximately 2:20 p.m. Wednesday, smoke was reportedly seen from the south end of the island, a press release issued by Fire Rescue stated. EJFR’s Battalion 13 responded to get a visual confirming the fire and Marine 16 launched.
Shortly after the fire was confirmed, local DNR resources responded via air, according to the release. Federal firefighters quickly arrived and EJFR was able to clear the scene at approximately 3:05 p.m. The island’s only resident, Marty Bluewater, wrote on Facebook just prior to 4 p.m. that the fire may have been caused by a maintenance mower, and called once more for a fire truck to be placed on the island.
An August 2021 human-caused blaze consumed approximately 25 acres on the south-western side of the 379-acre federally protected refuge. As part of the National Wildlife Refuge System, the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife has jurisdiction over the 48 acres on the west end of the island known as the Zella M. Schultz Seabird Sanctuary.
According to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s website, 70 percent of nesting seabirds in the Puget Sound area and Straits of San Juan de Fuca depend on the 100-acre island’s unique habitat, including 50 percent of the last remaining tufted puffins in Puget Sound.
Smoke related to this fire may be visible from Cape George, Port Townsend, Discovery Bay and other areas. Jeffcom 911 dispatchers are aware of this fire.