May 11, 2006 - Refuge fire crew assists Keno RFPD with Wildfire Prevention Video
The entire Klamath Basin NWRC Fire Management firefighting staff joined federal, state and local cooperators from the Klamath County vicinity to participate in the production of a wildfire prevention video. Spearheaded by Keno Rural Fire Protection District Chief John Ketchum, the video will offer homeowners information on how to protect their properties from the potential impacts of wildfire. Using grant money, Chief Ketchum started production on an informative video educating the public about the realities of wildfire suppression, showing multiple wildland and structural fire agencies working together to suppress a wildfire. The video also provides tips for homeowners to reduce hazardous fuel accumulations and explains how firefighters make time-crucial decisions in defending/protecting structures from oncoming wildfire.
Participants represented many firefighting agencies from throughout Klamath County, Oregon, including the: US Fish & Wildlife Service, Klamath Basin National Wildlife Refuge Complex; US Forest Service, Fremont-Winema National Forest; US Bureau of Land Management; Klamath Falls Resource Area-Lakeview District; Oregon Department of Forestry; Keno Rural Fire Protection District; Klamath County District One; Kingsley Airfield; Chiloquin Agency Lake Rural Fire Protection District; Harriman Rocky Point Volunteer Fire Department; and Klamath County Sheriff's Office.
The day began with a briefing for all involved parties who were then split by function (structural/wildland fire engine, water tender, bull dozer and hand crew). Videographers captured resources arriving on scene of preselected homes and deploying their resources to begin structural triage (the process of determining how best to protect a home from impending wildfire). Wildland engines arrived at a property where thinning and hand piling was completed some months before to ignite a prescribed fire. The crews worked together to safely ignite and complete the burn from which the videographer was able to capture hours of low intensity ground fire and different fire behavior types. A host/narrator explained the processes utilized and the importance of fuels management to protect homes and property.
Throughout the day, numerous local land owners and residents stopped by, expressing their joy with such activity. Many inquired as to how they too could start fuels reduction on their properties and safe controlled burning. The Keno RFPD has used grant monies over the past few years to treat thousands of acres of forested properties with hand thinning, piling and burning and shared information to interested parties on how to join in the effort.
Bear Valley National Wildlife Refuge is a close neighbor to many Keno residents, in fact sharing a common boundary with a dozen or so homes in the Cedar Trails neighborhood alone. Klamath Basin NWRC fire managers and biologists have worked closely with the Keno RFPD, Oregon Department of Forestry and local home owners for years to accomplish thousands of acres of fuels treatments within the refuge aimed at reducing the wildfire risk to local residents as well as the refuge itself.
Chief Ketchum aims for a completed 30 minute DVD within the next few months. Additional footage is being captured in the communities of Rocky Point and Chiloquin and other sites around Klamath County. You can see pictures of video production activity on our web site under the Still Images page. Check back for future video clips from the interagency video production and for information on how to get your copy of the final wildfire prevention DVD.