“Just as we ask property owners to create defensible space around their homes, it’s a good idea to have defensible space around whole communities at risk, an idea that has been identified in our Community Wildfire Protection Plan. This community protection line should help mitigate the risks of wildfire in these areas, now and in the future.
”Mick Lamar, Fire Chief, Lake Wenatchee Fire District.
Handout From Community Meeting Download Here
What is a Community Protection Line?
The Chiwawa-Entiat community protection line is a “shaded fuel break”, a contingency line or a worst-case-scenario containment line designed to protect the lower Entiat and Chiwawa valleys from the Wolverine Fire. It addresses the immediate operational needs of this fire response by increasing the probability that the fire could be held before it reaches communities in an area that otherwise offers few fuel break opportunities.
Why do we need one?
The upper Chiwawa and Entiat watersheds have a long history of fire, and several fires have burned in this area in recent years. It’s important to make your home “firewise” by removing natural fuels around your home to create defensible space that will slow or stop the spread of fire. The same strategy can apply to entire communities that frequently find themselves at risk of wildfire.
This year, in an effort to protect the communities of Plain, Ardenvoir, and areas between the Entiat River and Twin Lakes, the Incident Management Team responding to the Wolverine Fire deemed it necessary to develop a strategic community protection fire line.
If the Wolverine Fire were to move into the Chiwawa drainage, there are limited or no safe places to attempt to stop the fire. If conditions don’t allow firefighters to directly attack the fire in this area, the community protection line will provide an opportunity to stop or slow the fire before it reaches communities.
What will it look like?
Working closely with the Forest Service, the fire district, and other partners, the Southwest Area Incident Management Team has designed a line that utilizes existing forest roads and establishes portions of new line to create a fuel break to stop or slow fire. Local contractors are clearing immature trees, shrubs, and removing lower limbs of larger trees in a 300’ swath stretching about 26 miles across Forest Service land from the Entiat Valley to the Twin Lakes to the west, a total of 254 acres.
What remains is a park-like area, with mature trees and grasses that grow between. The reduction in fuel loading provides firefighters an opportunity to catch a wildfire before it reaches communities by reducing the fire’s speed and severity. It also provides a resource that can be used by crews fighting wildfire.
Community Fire Information Meeting September 2 at 7pm – Plain Community Church 12565 Chapel Drive
For more information on how you can help, contact your local fire district or visit ChumstickColition.org. To learn how to create defensible space around your home, visit Firewise.org.