Grant to help with wildfire protection

The county has received money to help assess threats and clear flammable debris.

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WALLA WALLA -- Wildfire protection in the southeastern portions of Walla Walla County is in for a boost.

The county Emergency Management Department has received a $120,000 grant to assess the threat of fire to properties and remove vegetative debris to help protect homes and structures, said Jim Duncan, department director.

The Fire Defensible Space Hazard Mitigation Project will involve "the belt along the foothills of the Blue Mountains," said Rocky Eastman, chief of Fire District 4. This will include properties along Mill Creek, Blue Creek, Dry Creek and other areas at risk of wildfires.

Fire District 4 has volunteered to manage the project, Eastman said. During the next few months district personnel will assess the fire threat to properties, after which contractors will be hired to remove debris as needed to create defensible spaces on properties of owners who want to participate.

Afterwards, Fire District 4 personnel will do a follow up fire threat assessment survey at the end of the project. The county Emergency Management Department will provide financial management and provide quarterly reports to the Washington state Emergency Management Division, Duncan said.

Two public meetings are scheduled next month in the Mill Creek area and Dixie to discuss the project as well as other precautions residents can take during the upcoming fire season.

Fire season meetings

Meetings to discuss the Fire Defensible Space Project and the 2012 fire season will be:

June 6 at Walla Walla County Fire District 4 fire station on Mill Creek Road.

June 14 at Walla Walla County Fire District 8 fire station in Dixie.

Both meetings will begin at 6 p.m.

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