Fire department helps DNR get quick control over Union Valley fire

by Richard Uhlhorn

Fire Chief report:

“Fire wise has been quiet this summer,” said Fire Chief Brandon Asher during his Fire Chief report to the fire commission. The district responded to 125 calls to service beating the average.

Asher said that other fire chiefs from around the state commented on the initial attack on the Union Valley Fire that helped get quick control over. The Union Valley Fire, under DNR control, broke out along the Union Valley Road and the cause is under investigation. “We had a unified command set up quickly,” said Asher. “We had good response on this fire.”

The administration is working on the 2023 budget and a commissioner budget hearing will take place on October 18 at 10 a.m. unless something changes.

Chief Brandon Asher, Assistant Chief Shaun Sherman and Administrative Assistant Carol Kibler are busy preparing the 2023 budget.

The public relations group is putting together a summary of what the district as done this year. “It will let the people know what they voted for.”

With Douglas County having four major incidents calling for mutual aid, Commissioner Phil Moller asked how far south or east the District was required to respond. Asher replied that second alarms stop a Sun Cove; third alarms will get response everywhere.

Assistant Chief report:

Assistant Chief Shaun Sherman reported that the District received a five-year funded program from Washington State to create fire breaks and fuel reduction.

The program will also allow putting wood chippers and sprinkler systems for suppression at homes. It is a 25% matching grant.

At a total cost of $265,000 to refurbish Chelan 71, the ladder truck is back and ready to respond when needed.

Fire 71 is back at a total cost of $265,000; $240,000 of which was the complete overhaul and another $25,000 for a new transmission that failed. “It’s running great and the tranie cost $5,000 less than expected.

Sherman stated that the District continues to look for State apparatus availability. “It is not good.”

With regards to replacing the old chief’s rig, availability is still tough. Russ Jones said he doesn’t have a problem with a purchase. “We’ve got to be able to act,” said Jones. “We should see more availability in the future.” In the meantime, Chief Asher will be driving the old chief’s vehicle.

Commissioners Phil Moller and Russ Jones listen to reports from the administration. Commissioner Oules attended the meeting via ZOOM.

Commissioner Phil Moller said, “We are spending a lot of money. Is there money in the budget for a vehicle?” Jones added that new would be better than used. Sherman replied that a new unit will cost between $55,000 and $80,000. “The price has gone up $25,000.”

Station 73 received Internet over the weekend. The District is waiting on the Forest Service for options they want to do at the airport’s Station 74.


Ben Barnes, owner of Steelhead Cidery, has indicated an interest in volunteering at the District. Another individual, Peter (last name not noted) wants to volunteer for the marine program only. He has 27 years of ladder company experience.

Sherman said that several opportunities are coming up for structure training burns on Little Butte.

EMS is offering a new EMT class beginning in November. “this is good for our membership.”

New business:

The recent fireworks show came up and Chief Asher said the permits were in place, but that from now on, a special event permit would be required. (Note: The City of Chelan is proposing new rules for fireworks that will allow them to be displayed only on the Fourth of July, during Winterfest and on Memorial Day).

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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