Vol. 18, No. 2


Successful Vintage Quilt Festival Grosses $9,000
Photos from the Quilt Festival
Summer Bookmobile Schedule
A Spectator’s Viewpoint of the High Prairie Quilt Sale
HPCC “Amazon Smile” Account Back in Business
A Feast for the Eyes
High Prairie 4Th of July, Settler Style
Good Lighting
Emergency Preparedness Knows No Season
Fire Lines
HPCC: From the Treasurer’s Desk…
Surprise Appearance Delights Festival-Goers
Construction Underway at Schilling Road Fire Station!
FireWise – Prepare for Fire or Evacuation


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Successful Vintage Quilt Festival Grosses $9,000

Gwen Berry

At 9 a.m. on Saturday, June 16, the High Prairie Vintage Quilt Festival opened for business! Nearly 90 quilts were on display to be sold, raffled or silent-auctioned. Other attractions included live music, a food booth, a bake sale, and a vendor market. The event drew a steady stream of visitors, and by the end of the day the festival had taken in nearly $9,000, including a generous $2,500 donation made by Doug Taylor in appreciation of the hard-working, close-knit High Prairie community.

The idea for a quilt sale fundraiser to benefit HPCC and Fire District 14 started with Diane Cazalet, who donated her collection of over 70 vintage quilts for the sale. An enthusiastic circle of friends took up the planning, and HPCC agreed to sponsor the event. The ultimate success of the event was due to the combined efforts of many people, motivated not only by support for the community, but especially by their affection for and appreciation of Diane herself.

What a sight greeted the eye on entering the Community Center! It was filled with beautiful quilts of all colors, patterns, sizes, and histories. They were hanging on frames borrowed from the Goldendale Chamber of Commerce, mounted on every spare space on the walls, pinned to the sound drapes and closet curtains, spread over the piano, folded on tables, and hung on display racks. Three quilts to be raffled were displayed just inside the entrance. It was all an amazing sight!

Bake sale tables were loaded with goodies, and positioned to catch the eye of customers as they came through the door. The food booth offered a simple menu of burgers and dogs, served at the pass-through window of the community center kitchen. For a treat there were root beer floats, dispensed outside at the front door so customers could carry them around the outdoor musical stage to the eating area – no sticky floats allowed in among the quilts!!!!

The musical stage was a flatbed trailer pulled up alongside the southwest corner of the building. Tents going back alongside the building covered the stage, a seating area for the audience, and the tables set up for eating. The music could be heard throughout the Quilt Festival grounds and it infused the day with a feeling of fun and enthusiasm. Four sets of musicians performed. The music was good and the acts were quite varied – Vocal Standards, Americana, Acoustic Rock, and Bluegrass. 

Individual sellers brought goods to the vendor market, which was spread under the big tent at the west end, two more tents set up along the gravel driveway, and a few structures installed by vendors themselves. Their wares included rummage sale items, jewelry, hanging plants, saddles, make up, clothing, crafted items, planters full of succulents, and more. A percentage of their take went to the Quilt Festival.

The weather was pretty decent – warm but not too hot, and only a breeze for most of the day. The threatened thunderstorm held off until late in the day; but when it did come, it blew in some nasty gusts and then rained like the dickens for a while. One vendor’s tent tried to become a kite, but everyone jumped to and held it down before too much damage had been done. Later, the rain got bad and the musicians had to move inside among the quilts, but listeners enthusiastically reported that the more intimate setting made it even better. 

By the end of the day there were lots of gaps in the quilt displays, as buyers had taken many of the beauties home with them. The silent auction closed, and calls went out to winners. Three lucky winners received prize quilts from the raffles. As everything wound down, a sense of lively satisfaction pervaded the scene. Organizers and workers relaxed over a potluck dinner, then went home tired but happy.

Cleanup was postponed until the following Monday, when it went “like clockwork,” as one of the organizers noted. In little more than 3 hours there was no sign that Saturday’s event had happened, except for the crew sharing one more work lunch together before everyone went back to their separate lives.

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Summer Bookmobile Schedule

Lozetta Doll

The Fort Vancouver Regional Library is once again offering High Prairie residents the opportunity to visit the bookmobile during the three summer months, at the old fire hall on Centerville Highway.  This year the visits are changed from Tuesdays to Wednesdays. They have a summer reading program for the youths and crafts for children during their stops.

The bookmobile is scheduled to be here from 9:45 a.m. until 10:20 a.m.  Dates are June 27, July 11 and 25, and August 8 and 22.  Mark your calendars!

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A Spectator’s Viewpoint of the High Prairie Quilt Sale

Douglas Taylor

Doug Taylor (in thered hat) enjoying the music

High Prairie has put on another spectacular sale, with a place for everything and everything in its place. A well-planned event with the usual hard work and preparation.

We normally use the fire department boundaries as the line for the community, but the community extends much further. I noticed several folks that were not particularly in the community although considered themselves High Prairians working their hearts out. And enjoying every minute of it.

It was so great to have the bands with their music and their singing, I stayed all day. Even the weather decided to participate, giving us a couple claps of applause and thinking that maybe a shower was in order also.

I am so proud of you planners, workers and participants that a simple thank you is not enough, but I want you to know that your efforts were much appreciated and one of the most enjoyable and pleasurable days I spent in many a day.

It is so heartwarming to see other communities joining in to make our day a memorable one, it always good  to have the goodwill and generosity of our High Prairie neighbors.

You folks keep this up and one day we will be on the map, too.

Your kindness and efforts are always so very much appreciated.

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HPCC “Amazon Smile” Account Back in Business

Gwen Berry

Ken Hansen, HPCC Treasurer, recently announced that the High Prairie Community Council’s account with AmazonSmile has been re-established after a short lapse. Funds currently being held by the AmazonSmile Foundation can now be transferred to the HPCC treasury, and future funds will be received quarterly. 

AmazonSmile is a program of charitable giving set up by Amazon. It is THE EASIEST POSSIBLE way to support HPCC and Fire District 14!  As you shop, the AmazonSmile Foundation will donate 0.5% of the price of your eligible purchases to HPCC. There is no cost to you or to HPCC. All you do is go to smile.amazon.com, instead of amazon.com, when you want to shop. The two websites operate in exactly the same way.

You might say, 0.5% doesn’t add up very fast. That’s true, but after the quick sign-up and making sure you go to the right website, there’s nothing more to do – so why not? If 100 High Prairians signed up and each spent $200, HPCC would get $100. That could be the hot dogs, hamburgers and dessert at the next community get-together.

Quick and Simple Set-up:

1. Click on this link (or type it into your browser’s address line): https://smile.amazon.com/ch/91-2078267 

2. Sign in using your usual Amazon email/phone and password.

3. Say yes when it asks if you want to support High Prairie Community Council.

4. Optional but helpful – Bookmark the smile.amazon.com shopping page so you can get back to it easily in the future. (Only purchases made at smile.amazon.com are eligible for the 0.5% donation.)

5. You’re done! Start shopping.

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A Feast for the Eyes

Jocelyn Weeks

I was asked to share a few of my photos. I tend to take a lot of sunrises and sunsets. The first two are of a sunrise I took on March 8th of this year. The third is an amazing sunset from just a few days ago, June 20. The last three are of two Moths and one Butterfly, which I took earlier this Spring. The first is an Antheraea polohemous (Silk Moth). It’s somewhat rare, likes the oaks. The second is Gamma ornata (Tiger Moth), considered rare, only occupies grasslands of the Pacific Northwest. The third is an Indra Swallowtail, considered rare. The larvae are most likely laid on Grey’s Biscuitroot – another one that likes grasslands. I realized I know next to nothing about the flora and fauna of High Prairie and am trying to learn more. Seems like a lot of interesting bugs are showing up this year or….I just starting to pay attention to them… This place is a feast for the eyes!!! 

Click image to view enlargement:

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High Prairie 4th of July, Settler Style

from Sketches of Early High Prairie by Nelia Binford-Fleming

Since we were so isolated on High Prairie, we had to depend upon ourselves for pleasures. There were parties where we played such games as “skip-to-my-loo” and other similar games, for which we furnished the music by singing. It was a keen delight to be swung around and round by some neighbor boy, often being swung entirely off our feet. Sometimes there was singing school, conducted by some traveling teacher, also we had debating teams that met in the school house and discussed such momentous questions, as, “Resolved: that Women Should Not Vote.”

The Fourth of July was a wonderful day. Everyone went to the favorite picnic grounds to spend the day. A platform would be erected on which sat those who took part in the program. Someone read the “Declaration of Independence.” One year my sister Lola was chosen to do this. And did she strut! Of course we sang “The Star Spangled Banner” and other patriotic songs, and as an added attraction, a quartet would sing, with Dick French at the organ.

There would be a liberty wagon. A big farm wagon would be provided, on which a platform had been built. The Goddess of Liberty, who would be some neighborhood miss, chosen by popular vote, would stand, wearing a long white dress and a gold paper crown, and grasping a large United States flag. She would be surrounded by little girls dressed in white, and each having the name of a state in tall letters across her breast.

The wagon would be drawn by four bunting-bedecked horses, with a special guard of four men on horseback, each riding at the head of one of the horses in the team, ready to snatch at a bridle should the team become unruly.

Happy indeed were the girls who were privileged to ride on the Liberty Wagon!

After the program, a real farm picnic dinner was served on a rambling table, under the trees. After dinner there would be races by the boys, and maybe a ball game. All through the dinner hour and the games afterward, ice cream and lemonade were bought at the stands erected by the lads and lasses there. 

The Fourth of July was indeed a marvelous day!

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Good Lighting

Audrey Bentz

Summer is the time of year that those of us who are lucky enough to live here really appreciate High Prairie’s dark skies and beautiful star show. All summer we love to gaze at the Milky Way and stunning planets, which most people on our planet can no longer enjoy. Soon, in August, we will experience the marvelous Perseid meteor shower. 

We all want effective lighting in the dark, for safety’s sake, but that does not require expensive lighting that soars to the sky and reduces our beautiful night vision in High Prairie.

The old outdoor 175 watt lights triple your PUD bills if left on during the night, and most of their light is wasted on illuminating the sky, minimizing visibility on steps to the door   way and irritating the neighbors!  Spendy globe lights cause glare for residents and also passing cars. 

Now there are many varieties of “good lights” available that cost less to burn and are more efficient at directing light to crucial darkened areas at night. For example, shielded fixtures that use amber LED bulbs will force the light to go downward (where it is needed); will provide safe lighting; will reduce PUD bills; and will allow High Prairie to boast of awesome night exposure to stars and planets.

August 12 will be the high point for the Perseid meteor shower this year (because of darkened moonlight), but after 10 pm on any day through all of August will provide great entertainment!  And the Milky Way is spectacular all summer. Thanks to those of you who help keep High Prairie famous for its night sky vision.

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Emergency Preparedness Knows No Season

Debbie McDonald

Summer is fast approaching and, while emergency preparedness is important year round, there are some considerations for summer time. We go on vacation visiting areas relatively unknown and leave our property vacant. Kids may be home by themselves from time to time. Summer invites us to be outside recreating, picnicking, and enjoying the heat and longer days. Are you and your family prepared in the event of an emergency?

An emergency situation might be a natural event such as wildfire being blown towards your home (whether you are there or not), or being stuck on the side of the road with a flat tire far from AAA. Having a plan and supplies can give you great peace of mind. Water (lots of water), snacks or food, appropriate clothes, shelter, and a plan can make all the difference in your comfort and maybe even your survival. But how to start?  

The answer is one step at a time, just do it. You can’t rely on others to come to your rescue but you can be the one to take responsibility for your situation. The following resources might be helpful in getting you and your family prepared. (Don’t forget about your pets and livestock.)

Getting Started is Easy—Being prepared for disasters and emergencies can seem like a big job. Many people don’t know where to start, so they never start at all. With Do 1 Thing you can take small steps that make a big difference in an emergency.

Do 1 Thing is a 12-month program that makes it easy for you to prepare yourself, your family, and your community for emergencies or disasters – one task, one month at a time.  You will receive an email at the beginning of each month with links and a reminder to Do 1 Thing.

Red Cross Prepare! Brochure
Comprehensive guide for a wide range of emergency situations.

Klickitat County Department of Emergency Management
https://www.klickitatcounty.org/249/Emergency-Management—lists general information regarding operations, wildfire, burn bans and registration for emergency notifications.

Hood River County Emergency Management
Do you work or shop in Hood River? Go to www.co.hood-river.or.us  – Click on Get Ready Gorge! Preparedness Tips – Download preparedness tips, publications and sign up for Citizen Alerts. Get READY Gorge! (What will you do if there’s an earthquake and you can’t cross the bridge?  Were you caught in stopped traffic for hours when the train derailed in Mosier?)

From the website: “Get READY Gorge residents! We live in a beautiful and remote area with extreme weather and natural hazards. Be prepared. Disasters and emergencies can happen at any time. Citizens and businesses are encouraged to be self-sufficient for at least 3 days and up to 3 weeks, should an emergency or disaster occur.

Download your copy of Get READY Gorge
8 pages of online tips. Prepare your home, family or business for power outages, winter storms, landslides, floods and earthquakes. “

Wasco County Emergency Management

Do you shop or work in Wasco County?  Sign Up for Citizen Alerts, and get emergency preparedness information.

A Sampling of Equipment and Food websites:
Note:  check out the camping departments in big box stores including Walmart, Bi-Mart, Kmart, Costco and Fred Meyer. You can be prepared without spending a ton of money. This is by no means a complete list or endorsement.

Survival Frog – www.survivalfrog.com 

Emergency Essentials – www.beprepared.com 

Wise Food – www.wisefoodstorage.com 

Mountain House – www.mountainhouse.com

Food Storage Moms is an email blog written by Linda Loosli “to help one family at a time” prepare for all kinds of emergencies. Her Document Binder link available to download is at https://www.foodstoragemoms.com/my-favorite-things/. Remember the recent California wildfires when people who were interviewed about their evacuation experience said they couldn’t decide what important papers to take in the 10 minutes they had to get their stuff together?  Create a document binder or upload scanned copies on a USB drive to grab and go.

High Prairie is a FireWise Community. Contact local coordinator Tom McMackin by email at firewise.onhighprairie@gmail.com or by phone message by calling 509-365-2786.

Find out how to create a wildfire defensible space on your property: https://www.nfpa.org/Public-Education/By-topic/Wildfire/Firewise-USA/The-ember-threat-and-the-home-ignition-zone 

Neighborhood Resources
While it is important for you to be self-sufficient in a variety of situations, finding out what resources your neighbors might need or be able to contribute is also important. Who has first aid skills? Are there elderly or special needs neighbors to be checked on?  Who has alternate energy sources?  Who might have items you could barter for and what could you use for barter?  Who has meat processing skills?  Who has alternate communication skills?  

Once you start thinking about what you have on hand already, you’ll find being prepared for day-to-day emergencies is much easier, and if you are prepared, others will be more willing to share what they have on hand. By definition, once a disaster happens, it is too late to prepare.

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Fire Lines

Jake Jakabosky with valuable assistance from Tom McMackin

Fire District 14 has worked to assemble a stable of working rigs to serve our community. The primary goal in planning and acquisition efforts has been the safety of our residents and their property, along with providing the quality fire-response infrastructure to maintain a high insurance rating and keep homeowner’s costs down. Here’s a description of each unit and its special characteristics.

Command 14 (C1400) is Fire Chief Tim Darland’s rapid response vehicle, a 4×4 pickup equipped with emergency lights, siren, and an AED (Automated External Defibrillator). It’s important that an experienced first responder like Tim arrives on the scene of an incident quickly, assumes command, and plans and coordinates the response of other resources as needed.

Aid 14 is our medical aid unit, carrying equipment and supplies for vehicle accidents and medical incidents. It carries oxygen, an AED, and other supplies our medical responders may require. It can carry injured patients to the hospital if local ambulances are away on other calls or maxed out in a multiple-victim incident.

Engine 1411 (E1411), our primary firefighting apparatus, carries 750 gallons of water, an AED, and a system for injecting firefighting foam. There are SCBA’s (Self-Contained Breathing Apparatus) built into four of the five seats, so firefighters can strap on their air supply while in transit. It also carries the Jaws of Life, ladders, a chain saw with carbide chain for metal cutting (nails, roofing), positive pressure fan, and oxygen and other medical supplies. It has selectable 4-wheel drive and can address both structure fire and wildland fire incidents. It can deploy automatic rear tire chains to quickly react to icy conditions. 

Engine 1421 (E1421), our newest engine, is a full-fledged, dedicated structure fire apparatus. It was acquired from the Wishram Fire District last year. Carrying both a portable and a top mounted monitor nozzle, or water cannon, this rig works with a full array of equipment and fittings to adapt to any assignment its crew of five is given. It will be our primary engine in the new Schilling Road Fire Station.

Tenders 1415 and 1425 (T1415 & T1425) supply water to the on-scene engines and equipment during fire operations. Both can fill from hydrants, ponds or other water sources; pump water to fill other apparatus; quickly discharge the entire load into portable tanks they carry for drafting by other engines; and if needed, can deploy hose lines and fight fire with their pump and water supply. Both can “pump and roll,” spraying water while moving.

T1415, a 1977 Oshkosh, weighs in at 64,000 pounds with its heavy military 6X6 truck chassis carrying 4,000 gallons of water. You may have seen its memorable white “fangs” on the front grill and the glaring eyes and toothy scowl on its engine cowl. It is capable of shooting water up to 70’ from a total of six spray nozzles, one on each side plus two each on the front and rear bumpers.

T1425, a 1988 International, came to us from New York in 2013. It carries 2,000 gallons on a heavy military truck frame. This beauty features all-wheel drive and a 500 gpm pump.

Brush 1412 and 1422 (B1412 & B1422). Rounding out our first-line, dedicated firefighting apparatus are our two brush trucks, B1412 and B1422. B1412 is a newer Ford 4×4 carrying 300 gallons, seating for five firefighters, a foam spray unit and spray bars. Brush 1422 is a much older vehicle, a 1983 GMC, designed for a crew of four. Originally acquired from Cal-Fire surplus, it’s considered our district’s wildfire workhorse. Using its direct engine power take-off to pump water from its on-board 500 gallon tank or from a tender, it will push water uphill further than most other apparatus. It was recently outfitted with a foam injection device. Both brush trucks carry a chain saw; firefighting tools; plenty of wildland hose and fittings in order to adapt quickly to the needs of our volunteers.

Last but not least is ol’ 1424, a 1967 Ford 8×8 amphibious military vehicle. Many fire districts with these types of vehicles refer to the units as “Monsters.” Our “Monster” is go-anywhere, anytime with its crew of two, a 1,000 gallon water payload, pump, hose, winch and power to all four axles. It will tackle High Prairie terrain without hesitation.

Fire District 14’s array of vehicles and equipment provides our High Prairie volunteers the tools to cover a wide range of firefighting and emergency response functions, especially when combined for automatic or mutual aid with the full complement of equipment and the skills of the firefighters at Lyle FD #4.

E1421, B1412, and T1425 are all slated to be stationed at the new Shilling Road Fire Station to support the six or more volunteers assigned there. The District is at a minimum staffing level at present, so please consider joining, particularly if you live on the eastern side of High Prairie. It’s inevitable that  fires and other emergencies will happen – to you, your neighbor, or someone else. Join with us so you can make a difference when they do.

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HPCC: From the Treasurer’s Desk…

Ken Hansen, HPCC Treasurer

Why we Serve…? When Deb and I were looking to retire back to “America” from 30 years on Kodiak Island, Alaska, one of our primary criteria was hopefully finding a strong sense of small-town community similar to the one we were leaving back on “The Rock”.  Having set our bulls-eye on the Columbia River Gorge, I will never forget winding up Centerville Highway with our realtor, numbly touring yet another property.  I vaguely recall his comments about High Prairie being locally known as a “very special community…etc.…”.  I thought blah, blah, blah…

Later that day, our lives took a significant turn when we fell in love with what is now our home.  We arrived to our new HP home a very long and emotional year later, actually on Firehouse Sale Day, 2015.   Although exhausted and anxious to finally be in our new but empty home, we spent most of that first day at the Community Center, eating Myrin’s famous brats and meeting our new neighbors.   Quickly, many became friends.  The welcome we received from our immediate neighbors was equally warm and genuine.  In short, we feel blessed to be members of such a wonderful and beautiful community, and our hopes were more than exceeded!  

Participation with HPCC and local community events has afforded Deb and me an opportunity to express our appreciation for being a part of this amazing community.  Little of value in one’s life comes without costs.  All of us have something we can contribute towards Community; some can give dollars, some can give labor, and others can give services and time.  It ALL is important to help our community operate.  In these days of focus on our perceived differences, it may all the more important to try to maintain some focus on what binds us together as a village and a community.  That won’t change with political winds and the news cycle… 

At a most basic level, a primary unifying issue for all HP residents is fire protection.  We have seen many recent examples of our Fire District #14 volunteers ably responding to OUR fire protection and safety needs, as well as those of our neighboring communities.  Unfortunately, we have all been touched by last September’s Eagle Creek Fire and have seen the potential of our geography combined with our changing climate and world-famous winds to quickly bring devastating changes to all of our lives.  Nonetheless, the fire-protection community limited losses to a couple of outbuildings and NO lives lost. They deserve all of the praise they received.  Many of also us watched or had friends/family affected by the devastating fires in California.  I sit at my window and hope and pray to NEVER see the view between myself and Mt. Adams blackened for miles…

HPCC strongly serves as an advocate and voice for the needs of our neighborhood and supports our “FireWise Community” efforts.  A primary goal of HPCC is providing ancillary funding for the volunteers of Fire District #14.  This provides for items such as new safety equipment.  This is a goal that ALL High Prairie residents should support.    

A belated thank you to Anna Purcell and Deb Hansen for their efforts in (again!) pulling together the Lady’s Tea.  Despite last-minute refrigeration failures, they pulled off the event wonderfully.  Again, thanks to the many volunteers and donations for this success.  This event netted in excess of $600 for HPCC!

The recent efforts of Diane Cazalet and Bill Stallings in conceptualizing and spearheading the hugely successful Quilt Festival is another example of our neighbors seriously stepping up for the community!  This was a huge group effort, and I heard so many comments about the wonderful, party atmosphere.  THANK YOU to all who made this a success.  Preliminary figures indicate this event generated proceeds of over $9,000 (before expenses).  

A very special THANK YOU to Doug Taylor!  Doug made a very generous donation of $2500 to HPCC for the Quilt Festival!  He wanted to express his appreciation for such wonderful neighbors and wanted to associate his gift with Diane and Bill’s generosity to High Prairie. 

Please think about how YOU can support HPCC, FD #14 and our community. 

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Surprise Appearance Delights Festival-Goers

Gwen Berry

Everyone received an unexpected treat during the recent Quilt Festival, when Rozee Bird brought over her beautiful horse, Miss Madeira, and gave a demonstration. The chestnut mare gleamed in the sun as she circled first in one direction, then the other, backed up and came forward, with Rozee holding the lead nearby. Miss Madeira has breeding to thank for her elegant looks – she’s pure Arab, and her grandfather is the famous stallion, Khemosabe – but her vitality and shine come from being well cared for and getting a lot of grooming attention.

When Rozee first got her, Miss Madeira was a raw, young horse. Rozee has worked intensively with her for several years. She’s done all her own training, using techniques taught by Clinton Anderson and relying on her extensive personal experience. At a gathering where Mr. Anderson rated the results of amateur trainers, he gave Rozee and Miss Madeira an A+. The two are so closely bonded that Rozee rides without a bridle (except in situations like parades) and often works Miss Madeira “at liberty” (with no restraints). When they run together, the horse follows along with Rozee the way a dog would. Rozee gives her cues and commands mainly with body language and sometimes voice commands.

Rozee has been riding since she was three and training horses for most of her life. She does endurance and dressage riding, and she has worked extensively with kids and horses for many years.

Click on image to view enlargement:

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Construction Underway at Schilling Road Fire Station!

Tim Darland, Chief, High Prairie Fire District 14

After years of planning and preparation, construction has finally begun on the Schilling Road Fire Station. Here is a quick synopsis. 

As reported in the last High Prairian (March 2018), the Washington State Legislature appropriated $434,000 in its 2017 Capital Budget for construction of the new Schilling Road Fire Station. The Capital Budget was signed by the governor in January 2018. In March and April, the Fire Commissioners and Department Officers revised the building specs and drawings, then sent out a request for bids. The bid from Goldendale contractor Rhoades & Sons Construction was chosen on April 17, and a construction budget based on that bid went to the Department of Commerce. A contract was signed with the DOC to administer the state funds. Finally, the Fire District awarded the actual building contract and construction could begin. Current construction status:

The contractor has ordered the metal building. 

The footings for the building have been dug out and framed, ready for the concrete pour. (See picture.) 

The power pole has been installed and the power run completed from across Schilling Road. 

The Schilling Road pavement contractor has completed the access to the site by installing a new culvert. 

We anticipate the building to be erected by August if all goes as planned.

Schilling Road Fire Station June 2018 – gravel over new culvert at driveway

Schilling Road Fire Station June 2018 – looking across concrete forms to new power pole

Schilling Road Fire Station June 2018- ready to pour footings

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FireWise – Prepare for Fire or Evacuation

Tom McMackin

On June 1, 2018, the seasonal burn ban went into effect for our region in Klickitat County. Hopefully, all those outside clean-ups and pruning sessions were managed successfully this Spring and the collected branches, duff and debris were disposed of ahead of that date… in an ideal World, I suppose that could happen for each of us. I find that there are still a few things I need to accomplish as the Summer season and its potential for fire peeks over the horizon for us here on High Prairie.  

If you, like me, have outside projects or last minute details to contend with… there are some simple things you can do to create defensible space around your house and other structures or sensitive areas. You can initiate or continue incorporating the Firewise 5’/30’/100’ protection zones concept to proactively prepare for a fire emergency.

How? Start with inspecting all roof areas of any structures. Clean any debris resting on the roof, in its valleys or other nooks or crannies. Coming down from the roof, clear gutters, put screening on vents and generally tidy up down to the ground at the foundation and 5’ outward from the foundation. This will make it difficult for fire running on the ground or embers drifting up with smoke or carried by the wind to get a toe-hold and kindle a new fire in immediate contact with your property. 

The next phase involves stepping back to survey areas that are within 30’ of property that needs protection. Taking care of this area will give first responders a fighting chance to put their skills and experience to work protecting your property safely and effectively.

Here’s a reminder link that speaks to being prepared for wild/forest fires: 

https://dnr.wi.gov/topic/forestFire/preparing.html. This has excellent information and at the bottom, under the ‘Home Ignition Zones’ tab, is an illustration of the protection zones concept.

What if that knock on your door comes at 2 AM for evacuation? What will you do? What can you do? Thinking through those ‘what ifs’ and preparing for that knock or message on your phone will transform the trauma of that moment into effective action. Gathering supplies, important documents & keepsakes, pet supplies or livestock needs with ‘Gotta go!’ as the driving force will be a first step. Identifying locations for these supplies and creating time-sensitive checklists of ‘what’ to get! and ‘where’ to get it! will give you effective goals to accomplish in order to leave with some peace of mind in the midst of the swirling chaos of an evacuation order.

This link offers “How to Prioritize an Evacuation List” – a recipe and one view of listing time and priority tasks for evacuation action. https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B4EjTfXhwMcwelFqUFUydEQzR3M/view

Resources are available within the High Prairie Firewise Community and online to assist you with developing protection and evacuation plans!

Contact me if you’d like more information on the ‘Firewise’ and ‘Ready, Set, Go!’ programs, if you have comments or suggestions, or if you would like to be more involved with the High Prairie Firewise effort. I can answer questions and get you connected with the resources we have available as a recognized Firewise Community. Contact me by email at firewise.onhighprairie@gmail.com or by phone message by calling 509-365-2786.

Online resources: 

Firewise – http://www.firewise.org  or http://www.firewise.org/wildfire-preparedness/be-firewise/home-and-landscape.aspx

Ready, Set, Go! – http://www.wildlandfirersg.org  or http://www.wildlandfirersg.org/Resident

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