Lake Cushman Firewise Council

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Lake Cushman Firewise Council
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Next Firewise Meeting: Aug 6th, 10am, Firestation

Firewise Meetings
Minutes July 2nd, 2019

Meeting opened at 1:10 P.M.

17 Attending members

Financial Report:

June Beginning Balance $12,885.42
      Other Donations: $110
      Chipper Days Donations: $765
      Stump Dump Donations: $34
       Fuel (for chipper): $25
   Ending Balance:  $13,794.42

Bill Sostrich began with Old Business and discussion of the minutes submitted in June. He gave a brief summary of our projects in the past installing address markers; including the involvement of Fire Dept and LCMC in approving their placement. He described size and type and lettering for markers used. Point of program was to assure a visible address for Fire Dept on calls. Chief Sexton brought up Dist 6 program and concluded the Dept. needs more visible addresses with at least double amount we currently have installed (250). Also any that are “buried” in brush or trees that have grown up need to have vegetation trimmed . Valuable time is lost when the ambulance is trying to locate an address on a dark street with no numbers. He pointed out that is a legal requirement of Mason Co. that residents have visible address on any building on their property.

Bill will contact Hanson Supply (our former vendor) for quote. Mike will contact Correctional Industries for quote on numbers. Bill will supply him with size and type needed. A motion was made to proceed with 100 markers when pricing has been confirmed and LCMC has reaffirmed placement in right-of-way. Motion passed by group. Betty suggested we might concentrate on one division at a time based on need of Fire Dept. It was brought up that we might install some on our own just to give more visibility where homeowners can't pay. Noted by Jim Crawford that there was a small fire on Dow Mountain and driveway couldn't even be located. Signage of any type is almost non-existent in that huge area.

Second discussion from last month centered on the Block Watch signs that need to be replaced. Bill indicated that our documents probably allow us to partially fund. However, Fire Dist 18 could no longer help us with projects (i.e. Chipper Days) if we did so because they are not permitted to provide money to anything not directly fire related. More discussion will follow in August after more investigation to assure that we are not conflicting with both Fire Department and Firewise organization financials.

Bill spent a day with DNR Rep Ashley (along with Dave and George) doing property assessments. Ashlee indicated their might be some help via grants . Mason Co. may have employees that can assist with targeting areas that are easy and difficult and we could select based on the “most bang for the buck”. She will begin working on that.

Mike spoke briefly on the goal to locate a sub station for the Dept in Divisions 2,3 &4. Former bldg. was condemned several years ago because location near boat ramp was back-filled and in danger of collapse. He also said they need more fire hydrants and so far they will probably be in worse shape this year with fire danger than in past.

More old business: The Div 10 project is quite doable, but there are probably more visible areas in greenbelts to work on first. One question is can we encourage more absentee owners to limb and trim their properties?

It was once again mentioned that we must do a lot more education prior to chipping so that we are only doing lots that have been prepared per our goals of limbing up (not trash removal). We will definitely have this in place prior to Chipper Day after Labor Day. Also should be more education on using Stump Dump and perhaps split it into chipping piles and burn piles. Mike Sexton expressed concern that location of dump is in worse possible area for wildfire spread. Maybe we should look at other ways to handle in the future.

Ken brought up that Firewise might want to have an event around week of Oct 6-12, which is National Fire Prevention week.

New business: centered on Ice Cream Social on August 3rd., 12-3 p.m. Plans, equipment, food discussed. Mike at Lake Cushman Grocery will provide us with ice. A suggestion was made to have a few new signs made as ours are quite tattered. All agreed to proceed on having the signs made. Fire Dept will be heavily involved with their presence and assistance getting tables, coolers, pop-ups and ice, etc. to event. We will have Fish Hatchery tour.

Separate document with details.

Meeting adjourned at 3 pm.

Deanne Sostrich

Firewise Meetings
Minutes June 4th, 2019

Joe Cochran opened the meeting at 1005. Bill Sostrich and Jim Crawford were unable to attend.

 Joe read the Treasurer's report.

  April 2, 2019
    Beginning Balance: $12,434.75
      Membership Deposits: $70
      National Fire Protection (grant for WPD): $500
      Vests:  $64.85
       Tax Exempt: $49.95
        Door Prizes: $190.71

Ending Balance: $12,699.25
      Dues: $15
      Donation: $100
      Amazon Smile: $25.98
      Kroger: $45.19
   Ending Balance:  $12,885.42

Sum Accounts:
   Emergency Preparedness: $1577.00
   LED Sign:   $138.84
   Bank Share:  $5.00

    Emergency Preparedness: $1,577.00
    LED Sign: $138.94
    Peninsula Bank Share: $5.00

Spring Chipping Event
Firewise volunteers chipped 30 lots in 2 days this year.  11 of the lots didn't want the chips, so we hauled away about 24 yds of chips.  We so appreciate the donations which amounted to $765 (with more promised).  It was remarked that this is a very good performance. Kudos to George and Judy Lavigne for coordinating the event.

An after-action discussion was held to better understand what may be able to be improved, both in process for the event coordinators and for effectiveness for the crews and chipping customers:
    -  Provide a better explanation of what material can be chipped, e.g. no stumps, vines or exclusively leafy material. 
     -  Create a "How-To" flyer to those requesting chipping with emphasis on how to structure piles for the crews, where they should be placed, etc. We should consider declining to process piles that don't meet the guidelines as jackstrawed piles can take triple the time to chip.

       - Emphasize that donations support the Firewise mission in the community and are very welcome.

        -  Make sure waivers are signed by everyone working on the chipping crew. (Dick Krase will produce such a document for review.)

Thanks to Fire District 18 for contributing the cost of the chipper rental.

Address Markers:
Clearly visible street address identification is required by Mason County and is crucial for the first responders when they are on a call, especially at night. Address markers show the street address, not Division and Lot number.

 There is a need to involve LCMC in communicating the imperative for address markers, perhaps via an email blast and/or inclusion in a mailing; the latter will reach more residents.

There are options for the markers. The fiberglass reflective wands have been used in the past and can be obtained at a very reasonable cost from Correctional Industries. Dick Krase agreed to initiate this discussion with the Board at their upcoming meeting.

Blockwatch Signage:
Blockwatch is raising funds for new signs in all the Divisions. Per our Community Wildfire Protection Plan, Blockwatch activities fall within the area of types of programs we raise moneis to support.  Dick Krase moved to provide $500 to Blockwatch for new signs. Deanie Sostrich seconded the motion which was passed unanimously with one abstention.

Other Business:
Joe Cochran suggested posting signs at 'T' intersections indicating the range of addresses in either direction, such as at the bottom of Mt. Tebo in Division 2. This would benefit first responders, visitors and delivery personnel.

There was a discussion of evacuation routes, in particular USFS 24 road from Big Creek to Highway 101 at Jorstad Creek. There are no directional signs at the key turns which could seriously affect orderly evacuations, especially by visitors unfamiliar with the area.

There was a discussion of limbing along LCMC roads and whether this could be done by Firewise or LCMC. It was pointed out that LCMC is currently trying to get contractors to bid proposals for this type of limbing.

The August 3 Ice Cream Social was discussed. Who should be invited to have tables and representatives, etc.

Lastly, there was a brief discussion of using chippers vs. shredders given some of the materials we encounter. Chippers appear to be by far the better option.

Respectfully submitted, Dick Krase Secretary


Firewise Meetings
Minutes Apr 30th, 2019

Bill Sostrich called the meeting to order at 1:00.

Mike Sexton noted that Bill and Chuck Lucas had been interviewed earlier in the morning by news. Here is the link:

The thrust of the meeting was to clean up any outstanding details with respect to Saturday's Wildfire Preparedness Day. Primary speakers in attendance will be:
> Chief Sexton, FD 18
> Chief Satterfield - FD 1
> Ross McDowell - Mason County Department of Emergency Management
> Ty Crowe - Fire Operations for USFS and NPS
> Christine Kirschner - Director of Wilderness Emergency Services for NPS

The program will be:
> Introductions
> Screening of the short video 'Prevent Home Ignition'
> Question and Answer roundtable with the invited speakers
> A Screening of the short video 'Your Home Can Survive a Wildfire'
> The following groups will have tables and information available:
         CERT, FD 18 Auxiliary, LCMC Dog Park, Lake Cushman Blockwatch
> There will be a FD 18 boot for Firewise Donations
> The drawing for door prizes - one ticket per attendee Doors will open at 11 AM for setup. The event begins at 1 PM.

There was a discussion about restarting the reflective location stakes.  Bill noted that the cost had not changed much since the last effort and he still has the device to put them in the ground.  Chief Sexton noted that they are extremely valuable to responders on a call.   Cost from the vendor (Hansen) is about $28/stake plus about $1 for each of the numbers.  The numbers must be purchased in 25 count packs.  Chief Sexton noted that FD 18 uses Prison Industries to produce similar stakes.

There was a discussion about the May 28 & 29 Chipper Days: 
George and Judy Lavigne volunteered to manage the event - kudos from the crowd.  Dick Krase will provide the event profile and ask Bill Sostrich to provide an email list.   Dick Krase will procure a liability waiver form for those who are doing the chipping,

 The Stump Dump will be open June 1 & 2.

Chuck Lucas proposed changing the monthly meeting time to a more convenient 10 AM. There were no objections.

The next meeting will be on June 4 at 10am.

Respectfully submitted, Dick Krase Secretary

Firewise Meetings
Minutes Apr 2nd, 2019

Meeting began at 1:00 P.M with 19 members present

Financial Report:
   Beginning Balance: $11,909.75
   Membership Deposits: $5
  Donations: $525

Ending Balance: $12,434.75

    Emergency Preparedness: $1,577.00
    LED Sign: $138.94
    Peninsula Bank Share: $5.00

Bill re-introduced Ashley Blazina our DNR Wildfire Coordinator representative. She was hoping to have a Community Workshop in near future. Ashley said she is available and interested in sharing information and resources. She will provide a template for a flier for our upcoming May 4th event. She said very important we have an attendance sheet for that day as that will help to our annual Firewise re qualification

Chuck proceeded to give an overview of Wildfire Preparedness Day on May 4th, with “why are we doing this?” Our purpose is Firewise education for Lake Cushman and this is great opportunity to bring the residents together in a fun setting to accomplish that.

We will publicize the event through the various Facebook pages, community info boxes, LED sign, distribution of fliers, to local businesses (Nina's Cafe, Mike's Grocery, Hood Canal Market, Visitor Information Center, LC Golf Course and at Booster Club. Betty will talk to local radio station and the Mason Co. Journal to ask them to help get the word out. Deanie will contact HCC about using the Public Access Channel to post.

Event will begin at 1:00 PM with a short video on protecting your home. Will have have 3 or 4 speakers to talk about Preparedness from their perspectives: Fire Chief Mike Sexton, Dist. 18, Ross McDowell Dept of Emergency Management, Chief Saterfield Dist. 1 and Wayne Snoey, Lake Cushman resident. The format for the discussions is still being decided.

We will also have representatives from LCMC, Security, Block Watch, Firewise,

Auxiliary and Emergency Preparedness at tables to pass out information and talk with attendees.

We will serve cookies, punch and coffee provided by Auxiliary.

In addition this year we have a number of really nice door prizes lined up. A heavy duty garden cart or wheelbarrow, Premium Long Handled garden Loppers, Tabor Leaf Scoops, Fire Resistant plants selected by our Master Gardener and a Gardening bucket consisting of hand tools, gloves, safety goggles, hat, etc.

On other business Ashley asked if we'd like a visit from a FEMA team to access our proposed thinning and trimming projects. That suggestion was welcomed. She wants DNR to showcase all communities showcased through Twitter and Facebook as a means to share ideas and information. Bill discussed again how important it is for us to keep track of our progress through Time Sheets, recording stump dump, meetings, events and all labor performed by residents on their own lots. The form will be revamped and distributed in a week or so. Requirements for certification has changed for 2019 to 1 hour per resident. In our case that amounts to 1900 hours per year.. Bill asked if DNR might have grant funds this year. That is uncertain at this time but Ashley did indicate she would look at possible sources of funds.

Community for Fuel Reduction with Mike Morrison reporting clean up removal project to take place April 6th, weather permitting, on the access road to where dog park will be located in Div 10. Mike said anyone doing greenbelt cleanup needs to get a waiver from LCMC.

Also discussed was how to better connect with more people in summer when we have such a huge influx of part-timers and visitors. Also a discussion on the importance of securing back-up from Skokomish Tribe and ways PUD 3 also support.

Good news reported by Bill. Our neighbors Carlos Garcia and Tammy have donated $500.00 to Firewise. We thank them heartily and will make good use of the money.

Chipper Day will be May 28 & 29th, followed the next weekend by the second opening of Stump . First Stump Dump will be April 13 and 14. We need to reserve chipper by middle of April from either Lew Rents West or Toziers . It was suggested we have a chipper at stump dump.

Bill has followed through with conversations with Mike Sexton and L & I about liability insurance for our volunteers and will have more to report at next meeting.

Brief discussion of the Emergency Evacuation written plan and how all agencies coordinate including CERT teams.

The Ice Cream Social this year will be help August 10th at Kokanee. We will once again invite the Windjammers for Entertainment and serve Olympic Mtn. Ice Cream. Auxiliary will sell hot dogs, etc. Betty will reserve Gazebo.

Meeting adjourned at 2:45 PM

Firewise Meetings
Minutes Mar 5th , 2019

Bill Sostrich called the meeting to order at 1 pm.

There were 22 people signed in at the meeting.

Financial report:
Beginning Balance: $11,805.66
Deposit Dues: 55.00
Kroger/Fred Meyer: 28.77 Amazon Smile: 20.32
Ending Balance: $11,909.75

Emergency Preparedness: $1,577.00
LED Sign: 138.94
Penninsula Bank Share: 5.00
Everyone was encouraged to enroll in the Fred Meyer and Amazon Smile programs (and pony up $5/year for dues).

Discussion about the structure of our last meeting with the sub-committee breakouts. Everyone was pleased with the engagement and direction of our groups.

Need a plan for the May 4 Wildfire Preparedness Day: The various ideas presented were panel discussions, speaker presentations, a Firewise Video, etc.   Decision will need to be made in Apr meeting.

DNR Area Assessments will probably be after April 1. Fuel Reduction Committee will need to provide Ashley Blazina a priority list for community assessments, probably based on our past 2005 assessment risk scoring. Dick Krase will facilitate.

Bill presented an overview of structure defense and evaluation. Very important that members of the community understand what they can do to prepare their properties before a wildfire event.
Mike Sexton and Joe Cochran provided input on the importance of addressing duff accumulation to minimize the danger of creeping ground fire. Crown fires are over quickly, but ground fire is a more insidious risk.

The Fuel Reduction committee reported that potential demonstration program sites have been identified in Divisions 10 and 1. Aaron Nix described the process to establish a broader Forest Management Plan for the greenbelts that will include official approval from Mason County and other agencies. This will take as much as a year, but will avoid continual permitting delays and expense. Though difficult to accept the delay, this is important to be as affective as we can possibly be.

The Education/PR committee submitted our application for May 4. NFPA Widfire Preperaration Day and $500 Grant.  Total votes for our project were 928, making Lake Cushman a real contender for the grant.

Chuck Lucas will pen an article for the Spring LCMC Newsletter.

Rustie Milam indicated she has substantial grant-writing experience and is pursuing several opportunities.

Dick Krase Secretary

Firewise Meetings
Minutes Feb 6 , 2019

Meeting was called to order by Bill Sostrich at 1300.

In introducing the Treasurer’s report, Bill reminded the group that there are two easy contribution options for Firewise where by virtue of your purchases, these vendors donate funds to Firewise: Amazon Smile Fred Meyer Rewards

Treasurer Report:
Beginning balance (December, 2018) $10,760.66
Deposit Dues $45.00
Deposit Emergency Preparedness $1,000
Ending Balance $11,805.66

Sub Accounts:
Emergency Preparedness $1577.00
LED Sign $138.94
Savings Acct Balance $5.00

Bill reminded everyone that we do have a membership fee of $5/year.

Bill asked for a volunteer to take over the LED Sign updating at the Lake Cushman Store. It is a simple computer program. Rustie Milam volunteered to take this over.

Bill proposed changing the monthly meeting schedule to the first Tuesday at 1300 (1pm) instead of Wednesday. There were no objections.

Bill has been communicating with Ashley Blazina and Charlie Burns of DNR regarding updating the Firewise Assessment that was done in 2005. We are still trying to determine how we will proceed in completing the Assessment.

Chuck Lucas provided the short film, “Your Home Can Survive a Wildfire”. Well received by the audience and a great segue into our breakout groups.
Before the breakout groups began, Bill and Chuck pointed out that Wildfire Preparedness Day is scheduled for May 4. There is a $500 grant available, but application will have to be made ASAP.

Breakout groups were convened for:

Education and Public Relations Committee
Committee Chair - Chuck Lucas
Members - Mike Murray, Deanie Sostrich, Betty Widing, Carl Parker, Shyloh Wideman

There was a discussion regarding the May 4th Wildfire Preparedness Day and process to apply. After the meeting an application was made to put Lake Cushman Firewise Council in the running for a $500 award. The process involves all in the community voting (daily) to show our support for the project.

A side project that will include Firewise is being done by Shyloh Wideman. He is working on a community wide website. One very important piece of that will include a calendar for all Lake Cushman organizations to publish their events.

In the coming months, more Firewise education on the LED sign at Lake Cushman Grocery. Firewise will also provide a list of upcoming events in the spring news letter.

Mike Murray will be getting 2 different styles of bright vests for the group to approve at next meeting. We will then have the them imprinted with Firewise logo. We will have to decide on quantity to be ordered.

In the Spring Firewise will again be places Firewise brochure's in the Information boxes (by each of the mail boxes at the entrance to the various divisions)

Fuel Reduction Committee
Committee Chair - Dick Krase
Members - George & Judy Lavigne, Mike & Colleen Morrison, Bob Berger, Rustie Milam & Larry Hutchings

Chipper Days

  • Stick with traditional schedule (week following the Memorial and Labor Day holidays

  • Signups fill up in 10 days after advertisement (work with Education & PR Committee)

  • Daily capacity is about 15 lots per day – can do 2 consecutive days

  • Make sure a Firewise timesheet is received from every lot owner requesting chipping

  • Chips can either be left at the lot or taken by the chipping crew

  • Dick Krase will distribute the Event Profile to the group

    Stump Dump

  • Dick Krase will request from LCMC it needs to be open at least 3 times per year

  • Make sure we collect Firewise timesheets from those bringing material to the Stump Dump

  • Could LCMC or Firewise provide a chipper for the material to avoid burning?

Demonstration Projects for Fuel Reduction

  • Mechanical (e.g. Feller Buncher with leave trees marked)

  • The flat ground in Divisions 10 and 12 would be ideal o Possible joint project between LCMC and Firewise

  • Neighborhood Groups, especially in greenbelts with creeks or difficult terrain o Possibly employing inmate crews to bring material to the roads

  • Will need to schedule these crews ASAP o Rustie Milam will find a good area in Division 1 Mike & Colleen Morrison will find a good area in Division 10 (not overlapping above)

  • Inmate Crews o Low cost for L&I, etc. o Security officer plus up to 9 inmates o Weekday operation o Requires a Firewise supervisor to guide the work

  • Education/PR Committee will put us in contact with a photographer or videographer (drone?) to document the process and the before/after results for promoting additional projects.

Emergency Response Committee
Anita Floyd – Committee Chair
Members - Ray Manard, Neil & Gillian Rampley, Jim Crawford

  • Firewise day, May 4th. - We will have a booth to put up and brochures to hand out. I have the pop-up display and signs from past events.

  • Fire pits- We will take pictures of various fire pits and show good ones and bad ones. This isn’t actually our assignment, but we got off on them because of the fires discussion.

  • Communication - Ray is going to pursue the radio issue with the county communications officer. We want to purchase a radio and possibly high end walkie-talkies.

  • Boat owners - We want to develop a list of potential boat owners who could assist in a time of need.

  • CERT - Set up another CERT basic class. Dates are set for May 10/11 and 17/18. Celso Rangel will be our instructor.

  • Red Cross - Mike Murray is setting up additional interfaces with the Red Cross.

Meeting adjourned at 1430

Firewise Meetings
Minutes Jan 9 , 2019

Fire Station, District 18, Community Room

Meeting began at 1:00 P.M. with 25 members and visitors present.

First order of business was selection of officers for 2019.
Nominated, moved, second, approved by voice vote were the following:
Bill Sostrich, president
Joe Cochran, vice president
Jim Crawford, Treasurer
Dick Krase, Secretary

Treasurer reported a forward balance Sept 2018 $10697.19 An ending balance for December 2018 of $10760.66
Sub accounts (included in balance)
Emergency Preparedness $577.00
LED Sign $138.94
Savings $5.00

Emergency Preparedness committee received a generous donation from the Lake Cushman Booster club of $1000.00. That amount will be added in next report. Jim also encouraged everyone to take advantage of donations made through Amazon Smile and Fred Meyers. All you have to do is designate on their web sites. Spread the word. The dollars add up.

Bill gave a presentation about Firewise at Lake Cushman.  A background of its start here and it's importantance in our community.  Also Bill showed a portion of a video dealing with the characteristics and misconceptions of wildfires. This video can be seen on the Firewise website, titled, "Wildfire-Preventing Home Ignitions"(19 min)  He reiterated the need to update our Community Wildfire Protection plan.

Bill introduced our representative from the Department of Natural Resources, Ashley Blazina who spoke about how the agency would be working with and assisting us as much as possible.

It was decided to form three independent committees to work on our pressing issues. Members have offered to head up each, and will need people to join and contribute to our efforts. Those committees are: Emergency Response-Emergency Evacuation , Chair Anita Floyd Fuel Reduction, Dick Krase, Education and Public Relations, Chuck Lucas. Noted: some Community groups fit with these efforts. For example, Block Watch ties closely with Emergency Response.

National Fire Protection Agency (NFPA) the umbrella agency for Firewise has new requirements for qualifying as certified Firewise Community. More documentation will be needed. The per dwelling unit requirement has increased from $2 to $24.14. This will mean we will need more documention (Timesheets) submitted for fuel reduction efforts by homeowners and groups. It would only take one hour per dwelling, which everyone does. The difficult part is to get lot owners to report work.  We need everyone to report not only fuel reduction efforts but also their time spent at special events, meetings and committee work; all which will help us reach the new goals this year. Every one of us needs to be an ambassador and talk to our neighbors. Face to face interaction is always effective. Bring someone new with you to every Firewise meeting . There are many who just need to be invited.

Fire Chief , Mike Sexton indicated the Fire Department would like to partner with us to do Homeowner Assessments.  It is another opportunity for spreading the word with positive education.  Esentially when Firewise does an assessment, the Fire Department would join us and give lot owners further information from a fire department prospective.

Other discussions and suggestions followed. Shyloh Wideman presented an excellent draft for Firewise priorities covering our value, status infrastructure, goals, benefits and potential partners. This document will be very helpful as we move forward this year.

A summary of other comments, ideas and suggestion:
Mike Sexton -There might be a way to reduce our liability when using volunteers for projects under the "Fire Prevention" mandate for the Fire Dept.
They are also moving forward on new technologies that will benefit community.
He is working on the problem of access to Potlatch Cushman Rd during an evacuation. Several owners and agencies are involved.

Aaron, General Mgr of LCMC -He's been talking with a company who does work for Mason Co.and uses huge equipment to chip and clean up. They might be able to assist us if we get grant to do big projects in Greenbelts.
He is also talking with Mason County about costs of disposal of large amounts of vegetation as at our Stump Dump or major clean-ups.
Hood Canal Communications is now doing the work on extending cable to north end of Lake Cushman. There will also be a Hot Spot at Division 3 Park

lt was suggested we have more presence in the LCMC Newsletter coming out this spring. Also include more explanation on our Volunteer Time Sheet.

Jim Crawford indicated Security now has a defibrillator in their vehicles.

 Meeting adjourned at 2:50 P.M.