Fire Near Quinault Reservation: “It Could Have Been Much Worse”

QIN fire fighters Josh Urich and Abraham Ortiz douse flames with water from portable backpacks.

QIN fire fighters Josh Urich and Abraham Ortiz douse flames with water from portable backpacks.

Published July 7, 2016

TAHOLAH, WASHINGTON – The first wildfire of the season that drew response from the Quinault Indian Nation fire crew was actually a “good fire for us in certain ways,” says Quinault Fire Chief John Preston.

“This South Shore Fire brought five agencies together in a cooperative effort, and showed how well we can work together. We had quick response and kept the fire much smaller than it could have been. We were able to get it under control while the winds were in our favor. There were no injuries, no danger to structures and minimal damage to natural resources. It was good training for fires we’re likely to see as the season goes on,” said Preston.

Fighting flames from a tribal engine are QIN fire fighters Abraham Ortiz and Kevin Della.

Fighting flames from a tribal engine are QIN fire fighters Abraham Ortiz and Kevin Della.

The South Shore fire burned between two and a half to three acres of slash and standing trees on Friday, July 3, about 10 miles up the South Shore Road along the Upper Quinault River on state land about 4 miles from the Quinault Reservation. The cause of the fire has not yet been determined. Preston estimated that there were about 20 fire fighters on scene from the tribe, the Department of Natural Resources, the U.S. Forest Service, the Olympic National Park and local dispatch within four hours after the fire started.

“I commend these fire fighters for their vigilance and the work they do,” said Quinault Nation President Fawn Sharp. “There is no question that fires such as this can do far more damage, if not for their preparation, their professionalism and the level of interagency cooperation they demonstrate. The chances are that we’re in for a hot, dry summer and fall, and we’re dependent on these brave men and women to do their duty well. I have great faith that they will do exactly that, and I pray for their safety, one and all.”

Preston added that even though 4th of July fireworks abounded over the week end, there wasn’t a single fire incident on the Quinault Reservation. He credited the attentiveness and coordinated efforts of the tribal roads crew, the fire crew and tribal law and resource enforcement, as well as cooperative efforts of most tribal citizens for the “safe and sane holiday.”

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This BBSNews article was syndicated from Native News Online, and written by Native News Online Staff. Read the original article here.