Washington Wildfires Wreaking Woe

The Sleepy Hollow fire near the north-central Washington State city of Wenatchee started in the afternoon of June 28, 2015. The cause is unknown but natural causes have been ruled out, leaving intentional or accidental human-origin causes to blame. Unseasonably high temperatures, early drought conditions, and high fuel loads have elevated fire risk in the area much earlier in the summer than normal. The fire started outside the city, but wind drove it into residential areas of this city of 33,000. Hundreds of residents were evacuated. It has burned 2950 acres and has destroyed 29 primary residences. Embers blew into the commercial business district and subsequent fires destroyed four businesses; some were large agricultural processing or storage warehouses, raising concerns about hazardous material involvement. Those areas have been secured and hazardous materials contained.

The Chelan WA County Commissioners have issued an emergency declaration of the area as a high danger area, banning all outdoor burning and the use of fireworks. Some roads are restricted to local resident and emergency use only. The evacuation center has been moved from a high school to a church.  The BNSF rail line (a major NW transportation corridor) was closed but has been re-opened.

The number of firefighting personnel involved with this fire is 336; they are primarily volunteers. They have incurred a few injuries including heat exhaustion; no injuries to the public have been reported. With limited numbers of firefighters available, four days of firefighting already, and new fires reported in the area, firefighting personnel is stretched to the limit. With the Sleepy Hollow fire 47% contained as of the evening of June 30 evening, some are being re-deployed to other emerging fire situations.

The majority of efforts have switched from response to recovery, assisting those who have lost their homes and businesses. A local footwear business is offering free shoes to all fire victims. A fruit packing business offered its facilities to a competitor whose fruit packing facility was destroyed, thereby helping the business continue operating during fruit harvest season. These responses demonstrate that even during periods of drought and wildfires, human hearts can contain bottomless wellsprings of compassion and hope.

–Submitted by Susan Kerr, WA State EDEN Delegate

 

Dog Days of Summer

Linus tells Sally about dog days of summer in today’s Peanuts comic strip. Those of us in the northern hemisphere are smack in the middle of the dog days since July and August are typically our hottest summer temperatures.

EDEN delegates identified several resources for staying safe in extreme heat. They range from advice for the elderly to advice about working outdoors. Delegates also identified resources that provide advice about livestock, pets and crops.

And just for fun…

Things to Do With Kids in a Heat Wave

Comic Weather Jokes

How do you stay safe and have fun in a heat wave?

 

Two Dogs Playing in the Waves

 

EDEN Drought Team

As Seasonal Drought Outlook (below) shows peristence and intensification of the drought over much of the country through the end of the year, I share with you the leadership of  the newly formed Drought NEIL (National EDEN Issue Leader) Team.  The team is charged with the development of  sustainable EDEN and EDEN eXtension drought preparedness, response, recovery and mitigation research based resources.  Working from a Logic Model, we will be building on the excellent resources shared by Extension Specialists and County Extension Educators.

 

University Who Email Phone
South Dakota State University E. Kim Cassel Kim.cassel@sdstate.edu 605-696-7873
University of Tennessee Tim Prather tprather@tennessee.edu 865-974-7266
University of Kentucky Tom Priddy Priddy@uky.edu 859-257-3000 ext 245
Auburn University Virginia Morgan morgamv@auburn.edu 334-844-5699
Purdue University Steve Cain cain@purdue.edu 765-494-8410
Louisiana State University Pat Skinner pskinner@agcenter.lsu.edu 225-578-2910
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign Rick Atterberry ratterbe@illinois.edu 217-244-2828
University of Missouri Bev Maltsberger MaltsbergerB@missouri.edu 816-279-1691
University of Minnesota Phyllis Onstad onsta003@umn.edu 507-796-6008
University of Missouri Sherry Nelson NelsonS@missouri.edu 573-769-2177
Oregon State University Lynette Black lynette.black@oregonstate.edu 541-296-5494
University of Arkansas Deborah Tootle dtootle@uaex.edu 501-671-2228
South Dakota State University Alvaro Garcia Alvaro.garcia@sdstate.edu 605-688-5488
University of Nebraska – Lincoln Rick Koelsch rkoelsch1@unl.edu 402-472-2966
NIFA/USDA Bill Hoffman whoffman@NIFA.USDA.GOV 202-401-1112

 

Kim Cassel