Communities prepare for fire season with FireWise program

KREM 2's Lindsay Nadrich reports on how communities are stepping up their fire efforts in preparation for the 2017 wildfire season.

SPOKANE, Wash . – It is March, which means that even though the snow just stopped falling, it is already time to think about wildfire season. At a meeting with the Department of Natural Resources on Tuesday, Governor Inslee called Washington’s forests, time bombs.

Governor Inslee said the good news though is how much work communities are doing as part of a FireWise program to prevent another bad season.

Crews from the Department of Natural Resources are prepping for wildfire season. Tuesday, communities cleared brush out of the area in preparation for if a fire does come through. The community that cleared the brush is from the area Firestorm 91 ripped through.

Bonnie Cobb knows firsthand what it is like to survive a wildfire.

“The fire actually came up through this canyon and it had the chimney affect, jumped over the top of the house and then I lost all the outbuildings and a hay stack,” Cobb said.

Although it was a scary experience, Cobb said she learned from it and now helps other homeowners avoid what happened to her.

“Since that time I’ve become a member of District 5 and now I’m the FireWise coordinator,” Cobb said.

Cobb is part of what is called a FireWise Community. Cobb and her neighbors work together to reduce fire risks in their area and help educate other communities as well. Cobb even caught the attention of Governor Jay Inslee who paid a visit to her to thank her for all her hard work.

At a meeting with fire officials on Tuesday, Governor Inslee named Cobb Washingtonian of the Day for her commitment to reducing fire risks. Although it may seem early, Cobb and crews from the Department of Natural Resources are already working to get things ready for the upcoming fire season.

“It’s never too early, it’s the perfect time to be out working with the snow coming off and you know you can get out there and start thinning the trees and I’d rather get this done now than August when it’s too hot and dry,” Steve Harris with the Department of Natural Resources said.

Governor Inslee said it is this type of proactive approach that will keep Washington from having another bad fire season like residents saw two years ago. 

© 2017 KREM-TV


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