Wildland fires already have broken out requiring a stronger than expected response from fire agencies
BRUSH PRAIRIE — Clark County Fire District 3 is taking steps to prepare for a busy wildland fire season. This year is one of the driest for the Portland metro area and other parts of the state. Wildland fires already have broken out requiring a stronger than expected response from fire agencies.
Fire District 3 recently replaced one squad (also known as “brush trucks”) and purchased another to bring the agency total to six. This type of emergency apparatus is lighter and faster than a traditional fire engine. It can go off-road to reach a wildland fire or cover ground faster in urban areas. It carries water or foam to start fire suppression efforts, and medical equipment to provide an Advanced Life Support response.
This type of emergency apparatus is critical for property and life safety in Fire District 3’s service area, which contains urban, suburban and rural areas. When it responds, the fire district can be tackling terrain that is anywhere from 300 to 2,000 feet in elevation. The fire district responded to 4,301 calls in 2019. In 80 percent of the calls, this piece of emergency apparatus was the first out the door to respond.
“These squads help us reach you faster in an emergency,” said Chief Scott Sorenson. “They were made possible because voters supported a funding increase in 2016. We want our community to know that we are grateful for its support of emergency services.”
The push for Fire District 3 at the moment is encouraging homeowners to prepare their property for wildland fire season. Normally, the fire district provides free property inspections, which is not possible now due to COVID-19 and social distancing. Instead, it is asking homeowners to follow these guidelines to protect their property in case of a wildland fire:
- Provide good access to your home and/or shop that allows firefighting vehicles the ability to get onto your property as well as be able to turn around and leave. Firefighters and apparatus cannot go into areas where there are no access options.
- Firefighters also need to be able to locate your property. Have your address posted on your driveway entrance as well as your house.
- Creating a “fire barrier” to homes and outbuildings is critical. Some simple tips to protect structures are as follows:
- Maintain a 30-foot defensible space around your home.
- Keep lawns well-watered.
- Prune or remove combustible trees or shrubs that are too close to your home.
- Clean gutters and roofs of any debris regularly.
- Screen or crawl spaces, attics and decks to keep them free of debris, as well as any flying embers.
- Do not store combustibles, such as wood piles, under your deck or near your home.
Fire District 3 encourages homeowners to contact the Duty Officer with additional questions at (360) 892-2331.
Clark County Fire District 3 provides fire and life safety services to 40,000 people in east Clark County, including the city of Battle Ground. Forty-eight full-time and 12 volunteer emergency personnel responded to 4,301 calls in 2019. Fire District 3 operates under a balanced budget and has passed all its financial and accountability audits by the state. More information on Fire District 3 can be found on its website www.fire3.org.
Information provided by Clark County Fire District 3.