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Fire Plan Draft On Agenda

Trout Lake News for Sept. 15

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

The Community Fire Protection Plan draft will be discussed at the Trout Lake Community Council meeting in October. The heart of the plan is the mitigation strategy, the steps to identify existing hazards and then to remove or lessen the hazard. Much of the mitigation would focus on around individual residences, but mitigation could also involve neighborhood action, such as planning evacuations from a group of houses on a dead-end road. The plan staff would like to hear comments and suggestions before the document is finalized and submitted to the funding agency, so you are all invited to attend the meeting or get in touch directly with Plan staff.

Call 395-2454 or contact the Northwest Service Academy and ask for Carter Davis or other plan staff to get more information about the plan or to schedule an assessment visit to your residence.

Fire Chief Steve Koenig reports that individual assessments are going well, but that not enough people have requested one. Trained fire protection folks will come to your house, evaluate your danger level and your preparedness level, and then help you determine what mitigation measures you should take. The results of these assessments are kept by the fire department, because they are helpful in knowing the conditions at the various properties. This information will help the fire department and other fire responders determine where they can and cannot go in the event of an actual fire emergency. That is, they will know if there is room to turn around, if there is emergency egress, what water supplies will be available, if there are any special dangers such as chemical storage, and so on. If it comes to an emergency, and the responders have to prioritize their responses, it is certain that they will use the assessments to determine where they could be most effective and where they could operate safely.

Steve Koenig reported on plan funding progress to the Community Council. The plan activity is funded by funds in the Title III program, which is money available to counties impacted by lower timber cutting levels on federal land. In 2004, the Trout Lake Community Fire Prevention folks asked Klickitat County Commissioners to apply for funds for the Trout Lake program, which the County did. However, when the grant money arrived, some of it was diverted to other county activities, away from the Trout Lake Plan.

The Community Council then applied through the Community Council for some additional funding from the landfill money. This request was granted but still wasn't adequate to replace the original amount. The Wildfire Protection Plan folks, led by Steve, have again requested the county to apply for a Title III grant for the Trout Lake plan. Two activities were proposed. The first is to finish the plan, including assessments, and the second is to fund a seven-member fuel reduction team, with equipment, 1000 hours, which should be enough to treat 300 acres, using mechanical fuel reduction methods. This would substantially increase safety levels in the Valley. As of the Community Council meeting on Sept. 7, Steve did not know if the commissioners had agreed to make the grant request. Any questions, call Steve Koenig.

The Trout Lake Planning Committee, working on an update of the comprehensive plan, will meet on Thursday, Sept. 29, and hopes to finish a final draft of the town center goals, policies, and map. Public comment is encouraged. Check the Trout Lake website for agendas and minutes.

Early notice -- the Trout Lake Fair annual meeting will be held on Tuesday, Oct. 11, at 7 p.m. in the Jonah Ministries cafeteria. We are all members of the Fair, according to the by-laws, and so can all participate in the annual business meeting, including the election of directors. Pat Arnold, newswriter.

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