by Richard Uhlhorn
City request for airport support:
Mayor Bob Goedde and City Administrator Wade Ferris attended the Wednesday, August 17 Fire Commission meeting to request support from the District in the City’s efforts to get a water line (fire flow) constructed from town to the airport.
Mayor Goedde told the District that Chelan County is on board with the project and in obtaining support for the waterline, he asked himself why the Fire District hadn’t been contacted for support.
Ferris told the Commission that it wasn’t just about fire flow, but that there is a strong demand for development of the airport by both the City and Port of Chelan County. “We are working with the FAA on an airport master plan. In the next eight to 10 years we will have a first class airport,” said Ferris. He added that in July there were 950 landings at the airport.
“We need improvements to accommodate jets. It is not safe now.” Ferris also mentioned inquiries from commercial airlines to use the airport. “Kenmore Air is interested in serving the Chelan community but we can’t do anything unless we get fire flow.”
Ferris asked the District to look into grants and would like at least a Letter-of-Support from Chelan Fire. Chief Asher said that getting fire flow out there would be a huge benefit to the District and community. “I’m excited to hear about this.”
Ferris added what he called a little story telling. “The FAA will put up $22, $4 Million. They pay 90% of the project.”
Fire Chief Report:
Chief Brandon Asher informed the commission that the District was on track financially. “The seasonal firefighters are helping to decrease out overtime,” said Asher.
In July, the District responded to 147 emergency calls including eight calls for fires. “This is the most calls we’ve ever had,” said Asher. “Marine calls are up this year. The total amount of people here is increasing our call volume.”
Asher specifically mentioned the Stayman Flats fire on July 18. “We got every aircraft helping us out,” said Asher. This included the DC-9 and other larger aircraft.
“We’ve had a pretty late start to wildfire season,” said Asher. The District has responded to two Statewide Mobilizations but said they were minor. “We haven’t had the five to nine day assignments.” He did mention that the District was receiving 50% more for Brush Trucks than last year. “It comes out to $1,100 a day.” The M-73 truck, which carries 1,000 gallons of water is bringing in $2,000 a day when mobilized. “It is the perfect truck for bad roads with moon dust. It is so nice to have that much water available.”
The District and Forest Service are discussing leasing a part of Station 74 to the Chelan Ranger district.
Assistant Chief report:
Assistant Chief Shaun Sherman told the commissioners that two high school students have indicated an interest in fire services and stated that the District will fire up the school age program again.
He also mentioned a long meeting with Dave Clouse in the First Creek Drainage discussing the one way in/one way out situation in First Creek. They are planning on starting a fire wise program like Union Valley’s.
Commissioner Russ Jones asked what they could do about the one way in and out situation? Sherman said would enact an early evacuation order if a fire threatens the drainage
The District has hired one new career fire fighter from its ranks which means that three fire fighters are on duty 24-7. Several other volunteers are attending the Wenatchee Fire Academy.
Ladder 71 which has been undergoing a complete overhaul had a transmission failure and it will cost $25,000 to fix. The company working on the truck dropped $10,000 from the overall bill and will rebuild the EBS4000 transmission. “We will have a brand new truck when it arrives,” said Asher.
“We are predicting a pretty long summer,” said Asher. Be careful out there.