From Asst. Chief of Meadow Valley
A special message from the fireline to folks at home provided by local Assistant Fire Chief.
Meadow Valley Fire Dept. Assistant Chief, Lafe Alexander and his engine company responded to the Walker Fire as a structure protection resource within the early hours of the incident. Stationed at Heart K Ranch, Alexander observed that it had good clearance and defensible space around structures on the property which creates a safer environment for firefighters and increases the defensibility of the structures. Meadow Valley firefighters further prepped the property by raking and removing flammable material away from structures, deployed hoselays around the property and installed exterior sprinkler systems.
“We watched dozers, engines, helicopters, and other resources arriving to initial attack the fire. It was impressive the amount of resources that came and how fast the incident management personnel got them there. It was also impressive how quickly the fire camp was set up and services provided to the firefighters as the fire transitioned from initial attack to a multi-day incident,” explained Alexander.
The Meadow Valley Fire engine stayed overnight to provide structure defense to the Heart K Ranch as other engines prepped and defended threatened properties. Meadow Valley continued to provide structure defense where needed and later supported ground crews with water near Flournoy Bridge (pictured below)
“We’re here to protect life and property. We’ve been working on this fire since it began Sept. 4th, 2019 and when I get home, I’ll be taking a look at the ways I can improve my own home’s defensibility,” said Alexander.
Assistant Fire Chief Alexander emphasized how people should evaluate everything that they value on their property beyond just the house, such as barns, cars, kennels, firewood piles, and land which can all be fuel for the fire. Mandatory clearance of hazardous fuels around these values to remove flammable material that could catch fire should be performed ahead of the fire season and the defensible space maintained.
“The community should prepare defensible space and a contingency plan to protect what they value so if we have time before the fire moves closer, we can help to effectively do that also,” said Alexander.
The combined effort of the property owner establishing defensible space before the fire started and improvements made by fire resources before the fire spread closer to structures contributed to a good and safe outcome for the firefighters and property.