I’m not making this up. It happened here in July 1985. Rain stopped in May; two weeks without dewfall led up to the Fourth of July holiday. The country was bone dry. On July 3rd, Peninsula Fire District 1 crews, Department of Natural Resources (DNR) staff and State Parks staff fought a fire at Benson Beach in Cape Disappointment State Park, started in driftwood along the beach by a park visitor. The fire burned more than fifty acres south of the campground and was finally snuffed by a borate drop, flown over from Wenatchee.
In many western communities, fuel reduction around communities is a common practice. For some reason, fuel reduction in pine stands on the beach was not implemented after the summer of 1985, but it could be. The day may come when there are too many fires for our fire crews to handle, and if your beachside forest is not fire resistant, it could act as a conduit to carry the fire inland to the community’s residential areas.