Home to the Olympic National Park and infamous Mount Rainier National Park, no one can dispute the fact that Washington is one of the most scenic states in the country. And with steep canyons lined with emerald green pine trees, the Forest Ridge community is quite possibly one of the most picturesque places in a state which is aptly coined as the “evergreen state.”
Homes in the Forest Ridge community are large, have wood shake roofing and are mainly located in heavily forested areas with little or no defensible space. The roads snaking around the homes are narrow with dead-ends that make it nearly impossible for rescue vehicles to turn around. And while aesthetic, the thick vegetation in the area serves as a major wildfire threat.
When local residents realized just how much at wildfire risk their community was, they decided to take immediate action.
Homeowners, local elected officials, Chelan County Fire District No. 1 and the Washington Department of Natural Resources (DNR), held a community meeting and created a Community Wildfire Protection Plan (CWPP), which outlined all the main fire-hazards that needed to be tackled.
Then the Cascadia Conservation District and the DNR awarded a grant to the Chelan County Fire District. This grant was used to clear out forest fuels in a plot of land in Forest Ridge. Residents, seeing the success of this decided to take it upon themselves to take similar measures and continue the clearing up initiative.
Two years later, the community members banded together to create the Forest Ridge Wildfire Coalition (FRWC), which is dedicated to the continued efforts to prevent wildfire disasters in the area.
Their Firewise Day events in the past have included guest speakers, a show-and-tell with Firewise equipment and a pot-luck lunch.
For their efforts to keep their community safe from wildfires, Forest Ridge not only became a proud Firewise-recognized community in 2010, they also became one of the five Firewise Challenge winners!
For their prize, they get $5,000 to use toward Firewise efforts. They plan to use this money to continue their ongoing efforts to remove and chip brush and make sure homes in the community are prepared for a fire.
There are other communities in Washington that have just as exciting stories. Read about them on their success stories page!