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Fire Ban Possible By May 1

Trout Lake News for March 24

By the

Trout Lake Newswriters

Sandi Thygesen, 395-2318

sandiray@gorge.net

Pat Arnold, 395-2233

greenpastures@gorge.net

Bonnie Reynolds, 395-2527

bonnier@gorge.net

Laurie West, 395-9330

aussie@hopdownunder.com

At a recent meeting held between the Trout Lake Writers it was determined that moneys accummulated in our bank account should be donated to the Trout Lake Fire Department. As the person designated to deliver the money, I took the opportunity to speak with our Fire Chief Steve Koenig at the fire station. He was appreciative of the donation and indicated that it would be used to help pay for much needed parts to continue upgrading of fire fighting vehicles dating back to 1971. Steve explained most of the operating funds used to maintain the fire station, vehicles and all the fire fighting equipment come from local fund raising, moneys donated from estates of deceased citizens, and grants from Federal, State and County Departments. However, he indicated operating funds the fire department would normally receive from FEMA have been reallocated to various cities and counties who are required by Homeland Security to update their Emergency Management Plans. This includes Klickitat County which leaves less money for our local fire department. There are 22 fire fighters including two trained paramedics and five trained EMTs, who volunteer their time in firefighting efforts as well as in the maintenance of their equipment.

Steve advised that we can expect the possibility of a total fire ban in Klickitat County as early as May 1 which would include lands used for agricultural purposes and timber logging. This is two months earlier than in a year receiving normal rainfall levels. When asked what local residents can do to reduce the risk of fire on their property Steve indicated the following before igniting burn piles: prepare a defensive space around your house and other structures, as well as inside your property's boundaries, by clearing dead trees and overgrown shrubs or grasses to a distance of 100 feet from all structures and 30' inside all property boundaries, cut and remove tree limbs on remaining tree trunks 15' from the ground upwards, and when burning the debris pick early morning or late afternoon for burning when winds are calm, clear grass well away from the burn site, have a hose located near the fire with the water turned on and most importantly, don't leave the fire until it burns out.

Don't forget the annual Easter Breakfast on Sunday, March 27, from 8:30 to 9:30 a.m. at the school. Breakfast is free and includes huckleberry pancakes and ham. Easter Sunday Church Services in Trout Lake are as follows: Presbyterian Church Easter Service at 11:15 a.m. including a special Easter choir performance, Baptist Church Easter Service at 10:30 a.m. including an adult and children's Easter choir performance and Church of Christ Easter Service at 11:00 a.m. The Baptist Church will also present a reinactment of The Last Supper on Thursday, March 24, at 7 p.m. Everyone is invited to attend.

The Trout Lake Community Foundation is reminding those students wishing to apply for scholarships sponsored in part by the annual Pennies for Scholars, your deadline for returning the completed applications is April 1. For those wishing to donate pennies to help raise money for these students you have until May 31.

The Trout Lake Arts Festival Committee wishes to extend thanks to all the Trout Lake residents and their guests who attended last weekend's fundraiser for the festival. Special thanks go to the Nelsons, who offered their gracious home for the event, to the volunteers who worked hard preparing for the event, to the many people helping on the day, to the musicians whose music added to the ambience and to all those who stayed for the clean-up. Arts Festival committee members indicate there was a good turnout and items sold at the auction will provide additional funds needed to orchestrate the 10th year of the annual Arts Festival on July 16 and 17.

Finally, in closing I can report it is RAINING in the valley and it is most welcome. Let's hope it is also snowing in the mountains presently covered by clouds.

Laurie West.

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