For the past two years, Fire District 8, Chief Kennedy, some County Fire commissioners, and other Chiefs have been advocating for a proposed burn ban. In contrast, I have maintained my opposition to this approach. It’s crucial to recognize that the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) has always been the authority entrusted with setting our Skagit County burn bans. Their meticulous monitoring of vegetation moisture levels, conducted twice daily across the county, forms the basis of their decision on when to implement or lift a burn ban, thereby ensuring the credibility of the process.

It’s of significant concern that the committee, which was intended to include the DNR, fire marshal, fire chiefs, and two Fire Commissioners, Lance, Fire Dist.3 West County, and Larry, Fire Dist.7 East County, held meetings without our presence. The response to my inquiry was a mere admission of forgetfulness, which further raised doubts about the transparency and fairness of the process.

The new burn ban proposal is June 15 through October 1 or later, depending on weather conditions. Some of the comments by people wanting this set date for this burn ban are as follows:

Proponents of the proposed burn ban have raised concerns that our county may adopt a similar stance to our southern neighbors, who have permanent burn bans in place. This could significantly impact our rural areas and how we manage our land.

On the other hand, one of the arguments in favor of the proposed burn ban is that it would assist with time management for those living in rural areas. They often have piles that need burning, but due to the wet winter, they didn’t cover them during the winter, so by the time it dries out enough, the burn bans are going on within a day or two, and they don’t have the time because burning that pile wasn’t important enough to be done earlier. We understand and respect these concerns, and We believe we can find a solution that addresses them while also considering the broader implications of a permanent burn ban.

The process of implementing the proposed burn ban is well underway. I recently attended a meeting organized by DEM on May 30, the Skagit County wildfire current conditions briefing for government officials and stakeholders. Ten presentations were given, and over 20 different agencies were in attendance.

The Skagit County fire marshal said it is now going to the three County commissioners.

During our county fire commissioners’ meetings, I presented four different burn ban proposals. Each proposal was carefully tailored to one of our county’s five distinct weather conditions and showcased how it could be implemented with today’s technology. Despite the potential benefits of this more flexible approach, the focus remained on setting permanent dates.

We live in a rainforest here. There are several different descriptions of rainforests, but they all boil down to 80 inches of rain or more yearly. One definition was as low as 70 inches. We had many people taking rain measurements on this lake, and at the time of this letter, we had 48 inches since January 1, 2024. Our family has been here for over 50 years, and I’ve taken rain measurements for over 20 years. My averages have been 105 inches to 109 averages over the time I’ve been here, and in the year that the state had its severe drought, I had just over 80 inches for the year.

At our commissioner’s meeting in May, your three fire commissioners and the chief agreed that we would like DNR to set our burn ban times. This decision was based on the understanding that DNR’s expertise and resources make them better equipped to make these decisions. While it may cause us to scramble to put up the signs, we believe it’s a small price to pay for the benefits of this approach.

It is of the utmost importance that you, the citizens of Lake Cavanaugh, express your concerns for or against the burn ban. Your voice holds significant weight in this decision-making process, and your input will be highly valued. Your active participation will shape the future of our community.

As rainforest residents, we experience unique weather conditions best understood and managed by the Department of Natural Resources (DNR). This is why we, the Skagit County Fire Protection District #7, want to let DNR set her burn ban times, ensuring a well- informed and practical approach to fire safety.

“Please let them know we want to be exempt from the country’s burn ban dates and let DNR set out burn bans. Skagit County Fire Protection Dist. #7”

Because of the mentioned articles.

Our county commissioner for the district 2 of Skagit County is, Peter Browning and public comments can be sent by email to phone number 360-416-1300 you can either attend in person at the commissioners hearing room located at 1800 Continental Pl., Mount Vernon, WA 98273 When they have their meetings, there is a Zoom option that you can get HERE and on the County website, there is a phone option

The rules of the commissioner’s meetings don’t allow you to discuss anything that isn’t on the agenda, so the quickest way currently is to send an email or a phone call. If you write a letter to them at the end of their meeting, they have a miscellaneous agenda that covers announcements, letters, etc. So, addressing your letter to the entire commissioners can get it into the minutes, and as soon as we know any more information, we’ll send it out through the Facebook accounts…

Larry Hawk, Dave Searing, & Mark Henry
Fire Commissioners
Skagit County Fire Protection Dist. #7

Contact 253.906.3754 for questions.