Update 8/13 12 PM:
At 5:56 p.m. on 8/9, firefighters doing a follow-up check of Ballinger Island discovered a small hot spot in the peat and spent an hour dumping water on it to keep it from re-igniting.
Update 8/5 10 PM:
Firefighting operations are complete on Ballinger Island a week after an illegal barbecue sparked a stubborn and smoky peat bog fire there.
“The island was in good shape at the end of yesterday with no smoke or steam coming from the peat. Today, crews finished mop-up and pulled apart piles of burned-up and dry brush that could have served as fuel for another fire,” said Leslie Hynes, public information officer for Snohomish County Fire District 1.
The island will remain closed to the public.
Firefighters plan to mop up the last hot spots and wrap up operations today on the Ballinger Island peat bog fire that started a week ago.
“This has been a stubborn and smoky fire, but the good news is crews reported no smoke or steam coming from the island when they left at the end of their shift yesterday around 6 p.m.,” said Leslie Hynes, public information officer for Snohomish County Fire District 1.
“In the past week, we’ve applied hundreds of thousands of gallons of lake water to the fire – using helicopter air drops and hoses supplied by floating pumps,” she said. “We’ve finally saturated the ground to a point where firefighters are no longer seeing steam or smoke, even when they dig down in the peat. Crews will be applying more water today and mopping up any lingering hot spots they may encounter.”
Trees with root systems that have been undermined by fire and water pose a hazard. Firefighters also have to navigate large sink holes – some up to 40 feet across. “These holes are filled with mucky, muddy peat that is about 2 feet deep in most places, but it can be up to 4 feet deep in some places. Firefighters slogging through the muck will suddenly sink up to their hips,” Hynes said.
See previous updates, photos and videos of the Lake Ballinger Fire here.