Abandoned Campfire Ignites Brush Fire
7/14 - East Jefferson Fire Rescue (“EJFR”) was toned to a brush fire near the intersection of Rhody Dr. and Irondale Rd. at 2:19 p.m. Sun. By the time firefighters arrived on scene, two quick-acting passers-by had used hand tools to control the blaze.
The brush fire, located approximately 100 feet west of Rhody Dr., was limited to an area of about 75 feet by 25 feet in size.
An investigation determined that the fire started from a smoldering transient campfire nearby. The fire traveled through the brush for about 20 feet before entering a field and growing in size.
When firefighters arrived, the transient’s belongings were found but no one was nearby.
Firefighters remained on scene for approximately one hour, spraying water on hot spots.
An engine and brush rig from Naval Magazine Indian Island assisted an engine company, brush unit and aid car from EJFR in the incident.
EJFR Deputy Chief Ted Krysinski commended the passers-by for their quick action but reminds the public that their safety is paramount. “We’re into the dry, summer fire season now,” he said. “These wildland fires can really take off quickly, so calling 9-1-1 and ensuring your personal safety is most important.”
7/15 - East Jefferson Fire Rescue (“EJFR”) received a gift of two hand-held thermal imaging cameras from Seattle Fire on July 8.
The thermal imaging cameras, called ‘TICs’ use infrared technology to locate heat sources in a nondestructive and environmentally friendly way, which allows for quick detection of potentially dangerous situations. Firefighters regularly use TICs to determine whether fires have extended behind sheetrock walls or into ceilings.
Seattle Fire received a number of TICs as part of a Homeland Security grant and has shared a number of them with other fire departments throughout the Puget Sound area.
EJFR Fire Chief Gordon Pomeroy noted the history of Seattle Fire’s generosity. “They’ve been a great partner. Assistant Chief A.D. Vickery called me and asked if we were interested in receiving a couple cameras. EJFR and Seattle Fire have been collaborating in other areas of medical interest, as well as shipboard firefighting,” he said.
Pomeroy also commented on the value of the gift, “These cameras cost $6,500 each, so we just saved $13,000 towards the replacement of our aging units.”
He stated that one camera will be stored at the new Chimacum fire station and one will be located at the uptown Port Townsend station.
6/5 - EJFR personnel responded to a two-vehicle accident at the corner of Cedar and Nesses Corner Road in Port Hadlock on Wed. afternoon. Occupants of both vehicles were transported to Jefferson Healthcare with minor injuries.
2014 Burn Ban Established
6/24 - The 2014 summer months are now upon us. This time of the year brings sunny days, warmer temperatures and the potential for wild land fire danger.
Have a great summer. Be safe and responsible. Please remember to completely extinguish all fires.
EJFR Boat 'Guardian's Christening a Success
7/3 - East Jefferson Fire Rescue’s (“EJFR”) new fire boat was given an name and christening on Wed.
After speeches by EJFR Fire Chief Gordon Pomeroy, Board of Commissioners Chair Rich Stapf and Port Townsend Mayor David King, the 33' Argus class vessel was christened in a formal ceremony by PIO Bill Beezley.
EJFR District Secretary Lonibeth Harbison, who announced her pending retirement earlier in the year, then (eventually) broke the champagne bottle over the bow of the boat. Loni made several valiant attempts, as the bottle proved tougher than expected and the bow of the boat had few sharp options available to her. However, she eventually persevered, to the relief of about 40 cheering onlookers.
Known internally as 'Marine 16', the boat was given the name 'Guardian' after a departmental naming contest was held. It will be based out of Boat Haven in Port Townsend.
Congratulations to Ben Carver, Me'l Christensen and Rolf Schumann, who each submitted the winning name, 'Guardian.' In addition to the pride of naming the new boat, each will receive a fabulous prize (TBD). Thank you for entering the name!
'Volunteer,' our 22' Lee Shore boat will be relocated to Cape George marina in Discovery Bay and will now be known as 'Marine 14.'
Guardian was acquired with funds from a 2011 Department of Homeland Security Port Security grant and was built by Lee Shore Boats of Port Angeles.
The new boat is powered by twin Yamaha 250 HP engines and is capable of speeds over 40 knots.
A Kodiak 5.7 liter, 330 HP V-8 engine, coupled with an American Turbine Jet SD309 makes the boat capable of pumping 1,250 gallons per minute (“GPM”) at 125 psi or up to 3,000 GPM at 50 psi. A remote-controlled Task Force Tips Hurricane fire monitor is located at the bow.
The onboard pump has the ability to provide water to landside apparatus in the event that city water supplies are disrupted due to catastrophic failure from a major earthquake or other disaster.
Through a unique diverter system, the firefighting pump engine can also output thrust from the stern of the vessel, providing a speed of up to about six knots. This allows operators to shut down the outboards and maneuver solely with the thrust from the pump engine when retrieving people from the water, eliminating chance of injury from the propellers.
An extended cabin and casualty bench allows emergency personnel to treat patients while under way.
Over the past five years, EJFR has responded to 48 water rescues and six marine craft fires.
According to EJFR Fire Chief Gordon Pomeroy, the new boat will be a valuable addition to the Department. “It serves several purposes for us. First, it allows us to move Volunteer over to Discovery Bay, where there currently are no marine assets for water rescue. Second, this boat is larger and much more capable, allowing us to safely respond to those more challenging water rescues off of Point Wilson,” he said, adding “the pumping capacity of the new boat will also significantly improve our water firefighting capability in and around our two marinas and along the Port Townsend waterfront."
Permanent Burn Ban Now Includes Irondale/Port Hadlock Areas
A recent discovery by Olympic Region Clean Air Agency (ORCAA), that portions of Irondale and Port Hadlock had been designated Urban Growth Areas (UGA), has prompted the agency to ban all burning in those areas of Jefferson County permanently.
In a letter addressed to Jefferson County Fire District 1 (East Jefferson Fire Rescue) Chief Gordon Pomeroy, ORCAA stated that in 2006, they “notified residents and fire protection agencies” about the law “in the 17 known UGAs” within their jurisdiction. (Washington State Legislature enacted a law [2005 Washington Revised Code RCW 70.94.743 (1) (b)] that prohibits both residential yard waste burning and land clearing burning in all UGAs within the state as of January 1, 2007.
The letter goes on to state that “ORCAA only recently learned that the Irondale/Port Hadlock area is designated as an Urban Growth Area.”
“We are as surprised as anyone at this news,” said Chief Pomeroy.
The Jefferson County Department of Community Development’s website explains that “prior to the completion of the 2002 Comprehensive Plan amendment cycle, the only UGA in Jefferson County was the City of Port Townsend. Planning to accommodate growth in the Tri-Area of Jefferson County, which includes Chimacum, Port Hadlock and Irondale, has long been a topic of discussion.” The ordinance establishing Irondale/Port Hadlock as an Urban Growth Area was adopted in 2009.
For a map of the Irondale / Port Hadlock UGA, click here.
Effective July 1, outdoor yard debris burning has been prohibited in Jefferson County Fire Rescue District 1. No open burning is ever allowed within the city limits of Port Townsend.
The initial burn ban runs from July 1 until Sept. 30. Depending on weather conditions within District 1, the ban may be extended further.
During the period of the burn ban, violators may be assessed fines of up to $14,915 per day for each violation. They may also be held responsible for the cost of putting out the fire which can cost thousands of dollars.
Burn permits are not required within the boundaries of Fire District 1. Knowing and following the guidelines is, however, a requirement. The guidelines for burning in East Jefferson County can be found at every fire station in District 1. Stations are located at Lawrence & Harrison Streets in Port Townsend; Jacob Miller Road; Cape George, Marrowstone Island; Chimacum and Airport Road. Outdoor Burning Guidelines can also be found online at www.ejfr.org. Alternatives to outdoor burning are also listed in the guidelines. Maps of all Jefferson County no-burn areas can be found on ORCAA’s website at www.orcaa.org. Current burn ban status can be found at WaBurnBans.net.
ORCAA is planning to post signs in the county’s UGAs to create greater awareness about the outdoor burn ban. For more information about the permanent burn ban in the Irondale/Port Hadlock areas, contact ORCAA at 1-800-422-5623 or visit their website www.orcaa.org.