Weiser Fire Department to hold Open House May 28

Weiser Rural Fire District is hosting an open house on Saturday, May 28 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at its station located at 167 W. Commercial St. in Weiser.
 All members of the public are invited and there will be free hotdogs.
 This year’s Open House is a partnership with the U.S. Forest Service, Bureau of Land Management, representatives of Idaho and Oregon’s State Fire Marshal’s offices, and other local first-responding agencies.
 There will be education on smoke detectors, carbon monoxide alarms, and fire prevention. The Open House, however, is a collective effort by all agencies to educate homeowners on home safety and preparing for the upcoming wildland fire season. 
 “Historically, this open house was held in October, during fire safety week. but we moved it to the spring to focus on the growing wildland fire problem,” said Weiser Rural Fire District Chief Tim Atwood. “Fire season will be here soon.” 
 Atwood said wildfire preparedness in Wildland Urban Interface (WUI) areas is a nationwide effort. 
 “WUI or Wildland Urban Interface are the areas created by our growing population expanding into rural areas surrounded by sage, grasses, and other vegetation,” Atwood explained.
 He cited the Paradise, Calif. fire in 2018 that became the nation’s deadliest wildfire in a century. The Camp Fire destroyed the mountain town located about 87 miles north of Sacramento, killing 85 people and leveling more than 18,000 structures.
 He also referred to the current Calf Canyon/Hermits Peak fire now burning in New Mexico. As of May 15, it has become the largest in New Mexico’s history at nearly 300,000 acres. Burning east of Sante Fe, the fire was reported on May 16 as 27 percent contained, with over 2,000 personnel working the blaze, some crews from the Pacific Northwest lending their services. The fire, which started April 19, has threatened the city of Las Vegas, N.M. prompting President Joe Biden to declare a major disaster. The cause of the fire remains under investigation.
 “With the grass growth we have seen this spring, there will be a heavier than average fuel load for this wildland season,” Atwood said of local conditions.
 Last year, one home was lost near Weiser when fireworks ignited dry grass. Wind, terrain, and limited access hampered the firefighting efforts, according to Atwood who said that fire crews had little time to set up protection around the home. A heavy fuel load of dry grass close to the home created dangerous conditions. A lone occupant was evacuated by firefighters shortly before the home was overcome by the fire. 
 “It is important that property owners create a defensible space around homes and outbuildings,” Atwood said. “We will have educational material at the Open House on May 28 and personnel to answer questions.”
Atwood said Weiser fire crews responded to a large structure fire in New Plymouth Sunday evening where the First Baptist Church, located at Elm Street and Holly Avenue, was destroyed. Fire crews from all over the valley responded to the blaze.
 It is a stark reminder of the importance of fire prevention and preparedness.


Signal American

18 E. Idaho St.
Weiser, ID 83672
PH: (208) 549-1717
FAX: (208) 549-1718

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