Bystanders, Boy Scouts help put out fire at Discovery Park

SEATTLE — One of Seattle’s most popular parks caught fire on Saturday, and flames threatened to spread across the field.

But then residents in Magnolia and a troop of Boy Scouts rushed in to put out the fire in the historic Fort Lawton area of Discovery Park.

“It was sort of like the 19th century where the bell was ringing and everyone yelled, ‘fire,’” said Nicholas Kent.

Kent remembers running toward the smoke Saturday afternoon, descending the hillside, alongside his Discovery Park neighbors.

“As this thing was just kicking up, we were worried about it hitting the trees and then start moving up the hill,” said Kent.

Kent says a makeshift fire force was formed.

“Luckily, there was also an Eagle Scout troop here doing some work,” Kent said.

Mike Elliott said a troop of Boy Scouts led by Eagle Scout candidate Holt Witter were there working on a park restoration project. Elliott, whose son, Quinn, was in the troop, said when the scouts saw the smoke, they ran down the hill and initially tried to put out the fire using shovels. When that didn’t work, they took off their shirts to beat back the fire.

Elliott said that tactic was key in containing the fire.

“There was no way we were going to be able to put it out because the wind was blowing, and the smoke was billowing. It was actually pretty scary the way it kept shifting and changing,” said Kent.

Kent says together the group of scouts and bystanders worked to contain the fire until Seattle fire crews arrived.

Days later, parkgoers are surprised the flames did not spread further.

Tara Macdonald walks her dog there daily. She said it’s the first summer the grass has ever been this tall.

Seattle fire said Saturday’s fire was just one of many brush fires that happened over the weekend and that historically, July is the busiest month.