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Fox Island open house planned to discuss wildfire risk

Posted on September 13th, 2023 By: James M. Braden

Fox Island asks the question: Could a Lahaina type of wildfire happen here?

Fox Island has but one way for emergency vehicles to arrive to help their Fire Station 53 crew on the island in a major conflagration — the Fox Island Bridge.  The island also is heavily wooded, providing fuel for a wildfire.  And evacuation is an added concern with the restrictive road system on the island.

The Lahaina fire on the Hawaiian Island of Maui has Fox Island’s FICRA Emergency Preparedness (EP) organization studying its 10 years of developing our emergency preparation and response.  It has uncovered some realizations that are driving some changes.

Jim Braden of the Fox Island Community and Recreation Association Emergency Response Organization shows a map of the island’s neighborhoods that would be used to assess damage and prioritize response in a disaster.

The most difficult struggle has been getting Fox Island families to spend a little time, and some money, to individually prepare for a major emergency.  That preparation is the single most effective means for survival in a major emergency.  The FICRA EP has, with the help of Pierce County and other first response agencies, developed a sophisticated response team, including ham radio communication.  And about half of the neighborhoods on the island have leaders (Block Coordinators) that have the means to help their neighborhood act as a unit for immediate as well as long term survival (the second most important step).

From 10 a.m. to noon Saturday, Sept. 16, Gig Harbor Fire & Medic One and the EP team are holding an information open house event at the Fox Island Fire Station (Island Boulevard and Kamus Drive) with presentations by fire department personnel who have returned from their assistance tours to major fires in California. Information on fire-proofing your residence will be available (be the one that is still standing after a major event!).

Anyone interested is welcome to attend, whether they live on or off Fox Island.

For information, use this link:  LAHAINAfoxIslandAnnoucementjbpp9-11.docx

Jim Braden

Fox Island Community and Recreation Association Emergency Preparedness lead

This graphic from the National Fire Protection Association illustrates the Home Ignition Zone concept, three designated areas within which getting rid of combustible materials is recommended to reduce wildfire risk. The theory is that reducing burnable materials in each of these zones will lead to layers of defense, as the fire passes quickly through without gaining a foothold.