The Importance Of Firewise

Jake Jakabosky

Elsewhere in this issue is an article about the Firewise Program by Tom McMackin. I highly recommend your attendance at the meeting titled “Living with Fire” ob March 18. Learning and applying what you learn there can make a big difference in your local fire department’s ability to protect your home when our nasty Gorge winds whip some small fire out of control.

Just how serious can it be? Just look at the raging fire that swept through Alberta, Canada’s towns last summer. Or, more recently, this month’s multiple fires in Kansas, Texas and Oklahoma. As of March 9, at least six people have been killed, over 1.2 million acres burned and thousands evacuated. The number of homes and other structures burned has yet to be tallied.

Every summer our Klickitat County volunteer firefighters witness the forces of nature that blacken large acreages. There are areas of this county that have seen devastating wildfire and there are those that have yet to see and feel its effects. High Prairie is one of the latter. The fuel loads have been building for decades and all the moisture we have seen this winter will spur the heavy growth of dry grass and weeds that will carry a fire rapidly through that fuel, up the ladder fuels and into the tree tops. It might not happen this year, but what about next year or the next?  Why not get prepared now?

I cannot stress strongly enough the importance of managing that fuel load in a manner that reduces the impact of inevitable fire sweeping through your home and property. Some of our neighbors have already cleared their fire hazard and serve as an example of what can be done. Please find the few hours necessary to become informed by attending the meeting on Saturday, March 18, from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the High Prairie Community Center on Struck Road. If you really cannot attend, please go to the links at the end of Tom’s article soon and seriously consider a plan of action to start managing the threat to your home.

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