Communities help prevent wildfire by cleaning up their neighborhood

Communities help prevent wildfire by cleaning up their neighborhood

18 July 2016

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USA—  Redmond Ridge, Wash. — So far our summer has had a mild start but warmer temperatures are forecasted for August and September and that’s sparked concern about wildfires on the west side of the Cascades Mountains.

“There is the chance of fires in Western Washington and there’s easy actions you can start with,” said Megan Fitzgerald-McGowan who is the Firewise coordinator with the Washington State Department of Natural Resources.

For Roger Coleman maintaining the health of hundreds of acres of forest and trails in his Redmond Ridge neighborhood is his top priority. On Thursday about 50 volunteers from the Trilogy Community gathered to clear brush, small trees and others fuels from an area that has been identified as high risk for fire.

“We have concerns about the drought stress that we have in the forests right here in this community,” said Coleman who lives at Trilogy.

The 2015 drought parched wooded areas of the community where about 1500 residents live. Through the Firewise Program neighbors have worked hard on a wildfire protection plan.

“If we don’t clean it up as we are doing today the fire hazard exists and these homes here are at risk,” said Jerry Walton who lives at Trilogy and has also been the lead with the Firewise Program around the eastside community.

Trilogy has more than 500 acres of forests and experts say the work neighbors are doing will make a big difference.

“Bottom line is all the lighter fuels grass and shrubs they can expect fire right now, said Ted Buehner who is the warning coordination meteorologist at the National Weather Service. “Sometime later this summer the trees and such could also expect fire.”

State and local fire experts hope communities across Puget Sound will consider becoming a Firewise community to reduce the risk of wildfires in Western Washington.

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