Wildfire Awareness Week 2014

Wildfire Awareness Week 2014 was declared a success! This week of educational activities and presentations surrounding wildfire and improving your hazardous fuel situation was sponsored by the Island Park Sustainable Fire Community (IPSFC). The goal of the week’s activities was to create an awareness of wildfire in the Island Park area, what to do in case of a wildfire, determine if you home and land is “fire safe”, provide real life examples of what you can do to reduce fuels around your home, and have fun.

Discussion topics included insurance coverage of our home and property in the event of a wildfire, firefighting responsibilities of each agency, disaster preparedness, and risk to your home in the event of a wildfire. Some of the activities included games and prizes for kids; meeting Smokey Bear and demonstrations by the Island Park volunteer fire department and Jon Corpany with the Community Emergency Response Team.

Tim Stronks with Farm Bureau Insurance discussed the roll that insurance plays in the event of a wildfire and hosted a Q&A session to answer questions regarding the importance of proper insurance coverage in the event of a wildfire.

Keith Richey with Fremont County discussed disaster preparedness in the event of a wildfire, including evacuation procedures and what emergency systems are in place in Island Park to assist people in the event of a natural disaster.

Liz Davy with the US Forest Service discussed the responsibilities of wildfire suppression in Island Park based on land ownership. The Forest Service is responsible for suppression of any NON STRUCTURE fire in the Island Park area whether the fire is on federal or private land. The Island Park Volunteer Fire Department is responsible for putting out STRUCTURE fires.

Bob Albano and Jon White with the US Forest Service gave presentations on the fire risk in Island Park as well as Redzone data that has been collected in Island Park. Bob discussed the ongoing studies being done in Island Park by the Missoula Fire Lab and how that has assisted Island Park Sustainable Fire Community and other government entities in prioritizing where to prioritize fuels reduction treatment in Island Park.

Forrest Hall with Fire Safe Landscaping conducted tours of several fuels reduction projects in Stonegate and Yale Creek subdivisions. Everyone on the tour got a taste of various types of tree and vegetation removal to reduce fuels around homes in the Island Park area. We encourage interested folks to look at those sites. Information about the different fuels reduction projects can be found on our website at www.islandparksustainablefirecommunity.com.

As with any event, most of the activities happened through hard working volunteers and dedicated staff. Thank you Jessica Simpson, IPSFC project coordinator for organizing the entire week, Bronwyn Ridley and Lark Moon for all the kids’ activities at Harriman State Park. Melanie Taylor with High Country RC&D was a phenomenal burger and hot dog chef. Island Park Master Naturalists helped set everything up and provided volunteers to help with the fun at Harriman State Park. John and all the Harriman staff, thanks so much for the Boys House and allowing us use of that beautiful setting along the Henry’s Fork. Kenny Strandberg and his volunteer fire crew from Island Park for bringing their gear and doing demonstrations with their big structure fire engines. Jeremy Speiss and his Forest Service engine crew entertained the kids with water spraying activities and many Smokey prizes. Fremont County’s Emergency Manager, Keith Richey provided the food for our cookout. Matthew at Flat Ranch and Island Park Search and Rescue, thank you for use of your facilities for some of our presentations.