FIRST REPORT, 2:28 PM: A “brush fire” call that’s been open since late morning in the Roxhill Park area is actually an underground peat fire, according to Seattle Parks, which says it’s under control but has claimed a few trees. Parks also says part of the park will be closed TFN because of the fire. We’ll be heading over to find out more. The peat bog in the park was restored years ago but has gone dry because of a variety of problems that the Westwood-Roxhill-Arbor Heights Community Coalition has long been trying to get the city to address. More to come.
3:04 PM UPDATE: We are at the park now. SFD and Parks are working together to dig into the peat to try to get to a not-burned area so they can cut off the fire. They have had to tear out some trees to get to it.
(And yes, that’s a TV helicopter.) What looks like smoke in our photos, we are told, is ash. Peat fires can burn for days, weeks, even months, so SFD is hoping this hasn’t extended too far. It’s at the southeast corner of the park.
3:56 PM UPDATE: Back at HQ now, and adding more images.
Since the fire isn’t out, SFD can’t say for sure how it started, but Deputy Chief Gene Zimmerman told us firefighters have been out a few times in recent days to extinguish “small warming fires” in that area of the park. We will check back in early evening but right now, this is NOT affecting the play area on the west side of the park, except that an SFD line is running to the fire area from a hydrant on 29th SW on the southwest side of the park. (added) This view of digging to fight the fire …
…is reminiscent of a view from the Seattle Municipal Archives, dated 1961, of peat being dug up in the area during road work (we’ve published this photo before):
FRIDAY NOTE: SFD closed out the call late Thursday night. We haven’t received a response yet to our question for them, whether the fire’s considered extinguished, but we went over at 5:30 pm for a look:
All that remains is a big muddy area, with chain-link fence around it. The paths to the east and to the north (toward the bus stop) are taped off, but nothing else in the park is affected. We’ll be checking with Seattle Parks, and again with SFD, next week.