Maui resident Kami Irwin, visiting Bellingham for a disaster relief fundraising event at Overflow Taps, is watching a familiar and frightening scene unfold at her parents’ home on Blue Canyon Road.
Just three weeks after a wildfire devastated the island town of Lahaina, Irwin is packing up her parents’ belongings and preparing the outside of their home for the worst as a 30-acre wildfire spreads across a steep slope along Lake Whatcom.
“We’re having almost, if not the same, thing [as] on Maui, where we’re getting help a little too late,” said Irwin, who has been coordinating a donation center at Maui Brewing Co. for victims of the Hawaii wildfires.
“We’ve been on the ground helping everyone [in Maui],” Kami added. “My old house is gone, all of Lahaina is gone. Some of my employees were missing.”
Irwin, her parents and other residents along Blue Canyon Road are under a Level 2 evacuation, meaning they should be prepared to evacuate but don’t need to leave their homes yet.
“We’re doing everything — artwork, everything that’s valuable,” Irwin said of preparations.
Department of Natural Resources brought in a helicopter when the fire began around 5:30 p.m. Monday evening, Aug. 28, but the terrain was too dangerous to send ground crews to battle the blaze that night.
The first helicopter arrived to drop water on the fire around 10 a.m. Since then, two planes have arrived to drop water as DNR waits for two 20-person ground crews, expected at 1 p.m. and 2 p.m.
This is a breaking story. Check back for updates.