UDRC October 17, 2019 Meeting Minutes

Monte Dammarell introduced guest speakers Alex Robertson, Fire and Aviation Staff Officer, Central Oregon Fire Management Service (COFMS), and Kevin Stock, Fire Management Officer, Newberry Division, COFMS. Click on the underlined links for more information.

COFMS was formed after the 1990 Awbrey Hall fire to facilitate coordinated response to wildfires by multiple agencies. The COFMS boundary extends from the Columbia River South to Crescent, East to John Day, and West to the Cascade crest, with exception of the Warm Springs Reservation. The Newberry division includes the Sunriver, Three Rivers, and La Pine communities. Agencies include the Forest Service, Bureau of Land Management, Oregon Department of Forestry, and local fire departments. Interagency agreements share costs for incidents lasting more than 24 hours. COFMS has 350 personnel and 20 – 25 wildfire engines.

A wildfire report may originate from a fire lookout, automated camera, spotter plane or 911 call. Half of the reports are handled by 911 dispatch and involve multiple reports of the same incident. Typical initial attack is handled by two wildfire engines and an air attack plane from Redmond airport. The Newberry Division has 7 engines stationed at several locations. Response to wildfires near communities are prioritized over other areas.

COFMS orders air tankers, helicopters, hot shot crews, and incident management teams through the Northwest Interagency Coordination Center serving Oregon and Washington. Resources are prioritized by values at risk with life as most important. Resources may be deployed or requested from other states and countries as needed. Jet powered air tankers are replacing WW2 vintage aircraft.

Escaped campfires in dispersed camping areas are the most common human caused fire starts. Other sources are fireworks and railroads. Human caused fires have increased with population growth in Central Oregon. This year wildfire activity was low due the wet Spring and high overnight humidity.

7700 acres of prescribed burning was accomplished in dry ponderosa pine areas this year, twice the area burned last year. Relaxed smoke management rules have increased the time windows available for burning. In areas treated by thinning and burning, wildfire hazard is reduced for up to 20 years. Fuels treatments were effective limiting the area burned during the Sheridan fire West of Three Rivers communities. Wildfire personnel do not have training or equipment to fight structure fires, local fire departments are responsible.

Discussion: The Central Oregon Fire website is very useful for timely information about initial attack on fire starts. Power lines and right of way areas are well maintained by Midstate Electric. Hazard trees need to be removed on Forest Service land near power lines to the Ponderosa Pines community. Slash piles from the Upper Deschutes River fuels treatment project will be burned this Winter.

Then next UDRC meeting will be held on November 21, 3:00 – 4;30 PM at the Sunriver Area Library. Guest speakers will be Jeff Crawford, fuels technician Deschutes National Forest Bend/Ft. Rock District and Sheldon Rhoden, fuels specialist BLM Prineville District. They will present information on recently completed and ongoing fuels treatment projects in South Deschutes County. 

October 9, 2019 UDRC Board Meeting Minutes

Monte: Sent questions to Board members about future of UDRC. Want to post a UDRC membership survey. Jerry, Jim, and Carl responded. Karyl Gothe will meet with UDRC Board for support for closing shooting zones near OWW 1 and River Forest Acres subdivisions. Mary Condi has not responded about continuing as a Board member. Need to recruit new Board members.

Jerry: Several $5,000 – $25,000 grant applications were submitted to fund the Defensible Space Reimbursement program. Have not yet received large donations this year for MCM grant matching funds. Will meet with new bookkeeper to transfer UDRC records. Updated UDRC volunteer hours report.

Jim: Sent HOA contact list to Jerry for fund raising. Will send reminders to Defensible Space Reimbursement applicants to submit invoices before Dec. 1. Jeff Crawford, Bend/Ft. Rock district, and Sheldon Rhoden, BLM Prineville district will be speakers at Nov. 21 UDRC meeting. Holly Jewkes, Deschutes National Forest Supervisor has confirmed as speaker for Jan. 16 meeting. Started website migration to new hosting service.

Dean: Performed property assessments for 10 Senior Defensible Space Program applicants. Contractor invoices have been $500 – $700 per lot. Work involves removing ladder fuel, limbing trees, removing overhanging branches, and removing ground vegetation around home. Jodie Barram can present Wildfire Home Protection Program at a future UDRC meeting. Will attend La Pine CWPP update meetings and make contacts for UDRC Senior Defensible Space Program. UDRC is co-sponsoring Project Ponderosa planting project on Oct. 19.

Board Actions: Approved $0.52 per mile reimbursement for volunteer travel expenses for UDRC projects. Approved recruiting one Board member from Sunriver Chamber of Commerce to facilitate joint meetings.

UDRC Financial Summary