Onhand for Washington’s Record-Breaking Fire Season

A long, hot fire season in the Northwest kept our chipper busy…

fire season

Our crew – and chipper – worked 14-hour days on Washington’s fires.

It was a scary summer for most of us in the Northwest, with fires surrounding us for much of the season. The Panhandle and Washington State both saw record-breaking fire seasons, and the region was a temporary home to tens of thousands of firefighters for months on end. Sand Creek Tree Service was proud to be among them, devoting time, personnel and equipment to the fire-suppression cause.

In addition to our arborist work in and around Sandpoint, we are on-call with the Forest Service during fire season and can be summoned anywhere in the nation. This year, our equipment made repeated trips to Washington. We operate a water truck that assists in wildland fire suppression, and this year, our chipper joined the mix.

When crews are battling blazes, they often try to corral and contain them by “cutting line.” This involves creating a firebreak by removing vegetation from a perimeter line around the fire. Ideally, when the flames hit the line, they run out of steam; there’s simply nothing left to burn at this line. Such work is effective, but it also leaves a lot of material – brush and branches – on the ground that can contribute to later conflagrations.

This fire season, Sand Creek Tree Service worked 14-hour shifts, for up to 14 days straight, chipping slash pile after slash pile. Our guys’ dreams were filled with chipper knives, branches, and feed wheels for the summer, but it was worth it. They provided an important service to the Northwest’s forests and communities. Not only were the slash piles cleaned up, mitigating fire risk, but important nutrients were returned to the soil in the form of chips. The remaining forest is now healthier for our efforts.

With the onset of fall – cooler temperatures, longer nights, cloudy skies – fire season has finally abated. Our chipper is home. Now is a perfect time for you to think about fire mitigation on your own property – and utilize our services – before the next fire season hits.

To see fire forecast maps for the region and nation, go to the National Interagency Fire Center’s Wildland Fire Potential Outlook Page.