Firefighters take down first blaze of the season

By RAELYNN RICARTE

News staff writer

July 19, 2006

Claire Griffin was horrified when landscapers working at her Westcliff Drive home reported that a wildfire was raging in a neighboring lot on Monday afternoon.

“When those guys knocked on my door I almost fell over myself trying to call 9-1-1,” she said.

By the time Griffin reached the emergency dispatch center shortly after 3:30 p.m., another caller had already reported the flames — and help was on the way.

“They were incredible; they had so many guys here so quickly,” said Griffin.

West Side Fire District took the lead in extinguishing flames that spread rapidly through the dry underbrush in the vacant lot. Also joining the effort was manpower from the City of Hood River, the U.S. Forest Service National Scenic Area Office, and Oregon Department of Forestry.

Within minutes, about 25 firefighters had dug a trench around the smoldering area. And within 30 minutes, the blaze that blackened about two-tenths of an acre had been fully contained and a mop-up operation was underway.

“The topography here sheltered the area from the wind and that really helped,” said West Side Fire Marshal Jim Trammell.

He said the cause of the blaze is under investigation. However, the rapid spread of the first wildfire in 2006 has underscored the need to shut down outdoor burning. He said no fires will be allowed in Hood River County between Aug. 1 and Sept. 15.

Trammell said the proactive step is being taken by area fire departments to eliminate all possible threats during the dry season.

He said outdoors burns can still take place until the end of July from 6 to 11 a.m. only — and all fires should be closely monitored.

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Parkdale third graders sing "12 Disaster Days of Christmas"

Welcome to your sing-able Christmas gift list. What follows is an emergency rendition of “12 Days of Christmas” – for outfitting your home or car in case of snow storm, earthquake, flood or other emergency. Read it as a simple list, or sing it to the tune of “12 Days” – you know, as in “ … and a partridge in a pear tree…” Not to make light of it, but the song is a familiar framework for a set of gift ideas that you could consider gathering together, even if the recipient already owns items such as a bunch of coats, tire chains and flashlights. Stores throughout the Gorge are stocked up on all these items. Buying all 12 days might be prohibitive, but here are three ideas for checking any of the dozen off your list (notations follow, 1-12.) The gift items needed to stay warm, dry and safe are also coded to suggest items in your abode (A) in your car (C) or both (B). 12 Gallons of Water (A) 11 Family meals (B) 10 Cans of propane (A) 9 Hygiene bags (B) 8 Packs of batteries (A) 7 Spare coats (B) 6 Bright red flares (C) 5 Cozy blankets (B) 4 Tire chains (C) 3 Flashlights (B) 2 cell phone chargers (B) 1 And a crush-proof first aid kit (B) Price ranges? Here’s a few quotes for days Three, Two, Four and Nine: n A family gift of flashlights (three will run $15-30, Hood River Supply, Tum-A-Lum) n Cell phone chargers (two will run $30-60) n Tire chains (basic set, $30, Les Schwab, returnable if unused for the winter) n Family meals ($100 or so should cover the basics for three or four reasonably well-fed days) n The home kit should be kept in a handy place near an exit, and remember that water needs to be replenished every few months. If you have a solid first aid kit already, switch out the gift idea with “and-a-sto-o-u-t- tub-for it-all …” Otherwise, it’s a case of assembling your home or car kits and making sure all members of the family know what the resources are and how to use them (ie flares and propane). Emergency situations are at worst life-threatening, at best deeply uncomfortable if you and your family are left without power for an extended period, or traveling and find yourself in a situation where you need to wait out a storm, lengthy traffic delay, or other crisis. Notes on the 12 gift ideas: 12 – Gallons of water: that’s one per person in a four-member family to last for three days, the recommended minimum to be prepared for utility outages. 11 – Easy-open packaged goods, energy bars, dried food and nuts are good things to include for nutrition. Think of what your family of four needs for three days to stay fortified and hydrated (see number 12). Can-opener also recommended 10 – If you have a propane camping stove, keep extra fuel handy. 9 – Hygiene bags: put packaged moistened towelettes, toilet paper, and plastic ties in large garbage bags (for personal sanitation) Resource list courtesy of Hood River County Emergency Management, Barbara Ayers, manager/ 541-386-1213. The county also reminds residents to Get a Kit, Make A Plan to connect your family if separated, and Stay Informed. See www.co.hood-river.or.us to opt-in for citizen alerts. Enlarge



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