A second fire prevention and public awareness meeting is set for 6 p.m. Tuesday, June 26, at the Chetco Community Public Library in Brookings.
County Commissioner Court Boice, who was instrumental in coordinating communication and volunteers during last year’s Chetco Bar Fire has asked Coos-Curry Forest Protective Association Director Mike Robison and city fire chiefs’ Jim Watson, Tyson Krieger and David Duncan to facilitate the meeting.
Boice has been vocal during county commissioner meetings in trying to get support in preparing for the upcoming fire season.
In the meantime, the Cape Ferrelo and Harbor fire districts have been trying to educate their communities on wildfire mitigation in preparation for the season.
The Chetco Bar Fire started as a lightning strike in July, and Chetco Effect winds blew it into a major conflagration within one weekend in August. The fire eventually burned 191,125 acres in Curry County backcountry.
“In my view, not much has changed from our last fire season,” Boice said. “And with the horrible restrictions on salvage harvest — 2.5 percent of timber lost on federal lands — fuels are worse.”
Many residents blame U.S. Forest Service policy for allowing the fire to get out of control, putting out-of-area command officials in charge and not listening to locals’ advice regarding access and the Chetco Effect, high, hot summer winds that blow periodically from the east.
Boice was born and raised in Curry County and experienced the 1987 Silver, the 2002 Biscuit and the 2005 Blossom Bar fires.
“I’ve learned and experienced all the different weather patterns here,” Boice said. “I want to do my part to offer as much help toward citizen awareness as possible.”
He noted that the fire season is underway in many communities throughout the nation.
“No one is saying the sky is falling, but we’ve already had a 40-acre fire in Bandon and a small fire in Agness,” Boice said. “The experts say there is a good chance we have four months to go.”