DNR’s Hilary Franz will lead a Wildfire Ready Neighbors program in Union Valley on April 19

Saturday, April 16 at Riverwalk Park

by Richard Uhlhorn

Union Valley’s rural wildland interface has always been a wildfire threat and the valley has been subject to a number of fires, some human caused and others lightning caused. As far back as 2001, the Union Valley community organized itself to remove deadfall, thin over-crowded tree stands, remove ladder fuels, and mow bitter brush on private lands.

This wildfire in Union Valley back in the late 90s has prompted the neighbors to remove deadfall, thin over-crowded tree stands, remove ladder fuels, and mow bitter brush on private lands.

This was accomplished by private landowners with the help of the Washington Department of Natural Resources.

The work is still going on and Tuesday, April 19 at 10:30 a.m., neighbors will kick-off an event of its second year as a Wildfire Ready Neighbors group. Union Valley is recognized as one of the most high-risk communities in the Chelan area. Most of the homes are very rural and very private.

Lands Commissioner Hilary Franz will be on hand Tuesday, April 19 to help jump-start this year’s Wildfire Ready Neighbors Progarm.

On hand will be Lands Commissioner Hilary Franz and Fire Chief Brandon Asher along with the Department of Natural Resources, regional fire districts, community partners, and local wildfire experts, to better prepare those most at risk.

Chelan Fire and Rescue Chief Brandon Asher and a crew from the District will be on hand to help with
the program.

The effort connects forest health and wildfire experts with residents so that they can take proactive action this spring to help protect their homes and surrounding property from wildfires.

Commissioner Franz will share how Wildfire Ready Neighbors helps build community resilience and share tips on how residents can sign up to get a free action plan. Chelan Residents Johnny and Sara Synder, Wildfire Ready Neighborhood Captains will also be on hand to help answer questions and show how the program works to protect residences.

This will take place at the Synder’s property at 474 Nancy Lane in Union Valley. When driving up to the property look for directional signs.

Property of Wildfire Ready Captains, Johnny and Sara Synder is located at 474 Nancy Lane, Chelan, Washington

Directions note: Event site located in wooded area with winding roads. When approaching intersection of Union Valley Rd. & Idyll Spurs Ln, look for directional signs.

Chelan was the first county to launch Wildfire Ready Neighbors in spring of 2021. In its inaugural year, the Wildfire Ready Neighbors program resulted in over 550 program sign-ups and 329 home visit/Forest Health Consultation requests in Chelan County. For several summers, Chelan has endured bone dry and hot conditions that create tremendous wildfire risks for communities. Last summer alone, 60 fires burned more than 36,514 acres.


Author: allthingslakechelan

I have been a journalist, photojournalist and reporter in the Lake Chelan Valley since 1988; first with the Wenatchee World, then 15 years at the Lake Chelan Mirror and another 12 years at GoLakeChelan. Currently, I am semi-retired but can't give up the media gig which is why I started All Things Lake Chelan blog. I also have two social media platforms; allthingslakechelan/facebook and lakechelansportsandrecration/facebook. I am also a professional photographer with many credits with major outlets around the world.

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