Written By Russ Hobbs, Retired Fire Chief, Kittitas County Fire & Rescue #7 with Carolyn Berglund, Public Education Officer, Kittitas County Fire & Rescue #7
On August 13, 2012 construction workers welding on a Highway 10 bridge deck near Cle Elum, Washington caused a massive wildfire, which become known as the Taylor Bridge Fire. It burned 23,500 acres, destroying 61 homes and multiple outbuildings. On July 2, 2016 a fire ignited in the same stretch of highway when a vehicle with a flat tire on a boat trailer pulled off the road into the dry grass. This fire burned 40 acres along Highway 10, and no buildings were destroyed, and it was contained in hours rather than days. So what was the difference?
Written by Jay McLaughlin, Mt. Adams Resource Stewards
After a docile 2016 wildfire season and what looks to be the wettest October on record in many parts of Washington, getting folks out to discuss “megafires” could have been a tall order. But an estimated 100 people showed up on a Thursday evening to hear Dr. Paul Hessburg present “Era of Megafires”, a powerful multi-media portrayal of the history, current crisis and potential solutions surrounding wildfire on the western landscape.
By Annie Schinnell, volunteer with Chelan County Fire District 1
Almost a year after the Sleepy Hollow fire, a bus dumped a whole heap of kids off at the bottom of a dusty trail. They ran into each other, yelled, ran into each other some more, picked up unidentifiable bones from the ditch, and well, acted like kids. It was a beautiful, albeit hot, central Washington day. We took a bunch of local third and fourth graders into the Wenatchee foothills, hiking (relatively) single file to a place where we could look down over the neighborhood that was impacted by the Sleepy Hollow fire in June 2015.
Written by Kara Karboski, Kirstin Taggart, & Ryan Anderson, Washington Resource Conservation & Development Council
Washington State is a land shaped by fire and water. Toward the Yakima Valley, the Naches and Yakima Rivers flow out of the Cascade Mountain’s forested slopes in central Washington State and into the Columbia River. The water that runs from the snow and forests of the Cascades has become a vital economic driver in modern times. The valley’s sun, soil, and irrigation supply, along with its hard working community, have created a hop industry that supplies approximately 70% of the nation’s hops.
By Hilary Lundgren, Chumstick Wildfire Stewardship Coalition
On a Saturday afternoon in late August, I was sitting on the porch editing the community After the Fire Resource Guide when my neighbor yelled, “What’s up with the flames over the road?” Within a few seconds, I received a call from a friend who just moved to town asking, “Do we need to be worried about smoke? What do we do? Is this normal?” After a quick call to the local fire district, it was clear that things were not looking good. A wildfire was threatening homes.
In August of 2015 the Goodell Creek Fire (ultimately the Skagit Complex) started with a lightning strike on North Cascades National Park land adjacent to the two Seattle City Light (SCL) company towns of Newhalem and Diablo where a series of hydroelectric dams generate about 20% of the City of Seattle’s electricity. The fire went from a slow smolder to an actively moving, highway and river jumping wildfire threatening the two towns and critical infrastructure. WAFAC Staff liaison Jennifer Coe interviews Cody Watson; Seattle City Light Fire Chief for Newhalem & Diablo to get an inside perspective on the details of dealing with the fire.
Written by Ryan Anderson, WA FAC LN Executive Director
White House Forum on Smart Finance for Disaster Resilience slideAt the end of July, 2016, I received an invitation to attend the White House Council on Environmental Quality’s Forum on Smart Finance for Disaster Resilience. The meeting highlighted innovative ways that states, local communities, and the private sector are investing in disaster resilience.
Written by Alison Green, Project Wildfire
Editor’s note: The original version of this post was written for the Fire Adapted Communities Learning Network and can be found at fireadaptednetwork.org
Building a sustainable cadre of stakeholders who can effectively and eagerly communicate messages about preparedness poses a constant challenge. For those working on becoming more fire adapted, having local capacity is vital to accomplishing work on the ground.
Written by Andrea Ely, Yakima County Fire Marshall’s Office
In June of 2015, I had the pleasure of meeting a homeowner in a most surprisingly inopportune way. Most of the homeowners I meet are through the usual fire prevention strategies: group mailings, door to door visits, or, as I prefer, personal introductions through neighbors. As many know in prevention education, finding those “spark plugs” in the community…
Written by Ashley Lara, Jackson County Fire District 3
Okay, let’s get real. In today’s society, how am I supposed to gain any amount attention from children on the topic of wildfire? Where is the time–when you already have a full day jam packed with Grand Theft Auto, MTV and texting Jonny, the cutest boy in school? To add to the challenge, most parents work full-time and are completely maxed out. Who can blame them? I can think of five excuses right now that would prevent me from attending a two-hour presentation on this year’s wildfire season at the local fire department on a weekend (or really any day of the week). So what is a fire outreach professional to do?