Saturday, August 24, 2013
While the bulk of local attention and resources are focused on the Government Flats Complex burning just east of Hood River County, three smaller fires this week serve as a unambiguous reminder of just how precarious fire danger remains throughout the region.
Crews doused a pair of fires along Herman Creek Road, one on Wednesday and another on Thursday, before they got out of hand, and Thursday afternoon firefighters responded to a lightning-struck snag that caught fire and began burning the ground around it. Both were extinguished quickly, thanks in large part to quick responses from nearby agencies and relatively high humidity and low winds that kept fire behavior subdued.
Thursday’s fire in Cascade Locks crept through a strip of grass and underbrush along the road before crews from Skamania County, Cascade Locks and Oregon Department of Forestry arrived and doused it with their wildland engines. Suspiciously, firefighters extinguished a similar fire the day before, on the other side of the road not far to the west. Fuel load in the area was such that, had winds been active on either day, the fires could have gotten out of hand very quickly.
At about 1 p.m. Thursday afternoon, thunderstorms rolled over the valley, dropping rain in some areas and lightning bolts in others. A motorist on Dee Highway reported smoke and flames erupting from a tree west of the Hood River, toward the Kinsley Road area. Westside Fire District aided Oregon Department of Forestry crews, and once they were able to find the best way into the fire, they knocked it down in short time.
Although weather this week brought light rain to the valley, Jim Trammel, Hood River County fire defense chief, says it will do little to reduce the extreme fire danger that remains throughout the region.
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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