Bill Schlichting
Curry Coastal Pilot

Winchuck Fire Department officials are pleased with the outcome of Sunday’s annual chicken barbecue.

As of Monday, the amount the department raised had not been tallied, but Fire Chief Brian Stepanek said the department served 492 meals. The 56 pieces of chicken remaining were given away to those who helped make the 34th annual fundraiser happen.

The fundraiser consisted of the butter-based chicken cooked on an alderwood flame, baked beans, coleslaw, bread and lemonade served by members of 4-H. In addition, desserts, soft drinks, beer and wine were sold.

The Curry County Cruisers also had cars on display.

He added that “the auctions went well. The silent auction did better than the live auction.”

Most of the donations sold for around 60 percent of the donation value. A few restaurant certificates sold for more than value.

“People donated really nice stuff this year,” Stepanek said.

The fire department board will meet tonight and learn more about how much was raised. The board has agreed that with the money raised, it wants to provide water tanks along Winchuck River Road to refill tenders in the event of a fire.

The idea came during the Chetco Bar Fire, which cancelled last year’s fundraiser because of smoke and the neighborhood was on an evacuation alert. Firefighters placed orange tanks, which were called “pumpkins,” to store water for tenders.

The Winchuck Fire Department would like to place tanks about a mile apart along the road.

Currently, the fire department tender must drive to the nearest hydrant in Harbor to refill and this could take awhile in the event of a fire that needs a lot of water, Stepanek said. There are very few places where the tender can refill from the river.

With the tanks in place, the trucks can be refilled, and there can also be water handy for any mutual aid trucks from other departments.

Although the fire department seldom deals with structure fires, the department is always on alert to extinguish smaller fires, many of them brush fires. About a month ago Winchuck firefighters were the first responders for a small brush fire near Ludlum House, Stepanek said.

It was also announced at the barbecue that this year’s event could be the last. The property used for event parking has been put on the market and may not be available.

But the department is still hopeful.

“We are hoping to do it again next year,” Stepanek said. He already has a few ideas.