In early June, the Forest Ridge Wildfire Coalition (FRWC) held its fourth successful Firewise Day — a neighborhood get-together and potluck. Chelan County Fire District 1 brought three firetrucks for all the kids.
Officers from the department demonstrated the fire district’s infrared, thermal detection camera, bought with donations from landowners and Northwest Farm Credit Services. Evergreen Mountain Bike Alliance member and Forest Ridge homeowner Matt Rose updated attendees on the progress of the Bike and Trails Enhancement Plan for Squilchuck State Park. Joe Weeks, representing the Washington State Department of Natural Resources was available for questions.
The weekend also reverberated with the sound of chain saws and a wood chipper, provided by FRWC, as landowners cleared winter’s accumulated bio-fuels from their properties.
A fuel reduction project began in 2010-11, under the auspices of the National Fire Plan Grant obtained by Chelan County Fire District 1 and administered by Cascadia Conservation District, the U.S. Forest Service, Washington State Parks and the state Department of Natural Resources. Provisions were made to provide a 200-foot canopied fire break around Squilchuck State Park and areas bordering the Forest Ridge subdivision and the Scout-a-Vista Boy Scout Camp. Property owners are encouraged to reduce combustible fuels on their properties and to use fire-resistant materials where feasible.
The Forest Ridge Wildfire Coalition (FRWC), comprising Forest Ridge and Upper Squilchuck Valley landowners, was formed in early 2010 as a direct result of this grant activity. FRWC has gained nationally recognized Firewise Communities/USA status by continuing to enable, advise and educate property owners about forest stewardship in the Upper Squilchuck Valley.
Most U.S. regions have significant seasonal weather events. There are hurricanes and blizzards in the East, tornadoes in the Midwest and wildfires here. Whether one lives on the arid desert side of the Columbia River or on the slopes of the East Cascade Mountains, there is always the real possibility of a wildfire. FRWC, in cooperation with various agencies and local landowners, is working to mitigate this danger in our beautiful Mission Ridge area.
Barbara Flick is a retired secondary school teacher. She moved to Wenatchee five years ago with her husband, Don.