NEW WILDLAND FIRE RESOURCE FOR KING COUNTY
This is a test article from Mountain View Fire and Rescue.
Did you know that over 900,000 acres, or more than two-thirds of King County, is forested? About half of the county, 824,000 acres, is zoned as forestland of long-term commercial significance.
Some, not all fire agencies in King County have special resources to combat wildland fires in their jurisdictions. Some have signed agreements with the State Department of Natural Resources related to these types of fires in the county. Certain areas of the county are not protected by any organized fire department, most of these areas are in highly forested areas that are not easily accessed via roads or have no such access at all.
There are 200 County Parks in King County. Many are several hundred acres and several are thousands of acres in size. Cougar Mountain Regional Wildland Park is a 25,000 acre park system. Taylor Mountain Forest is 1,822 acres. Grand Ridge Park is 1,200 acres of pristine forest. The Green River Natural Area is 1,000-acres. Soaring Eagle Regional Park is 600 acres of mature forests, wetlands, and wildlife habitat. Tolt-MacDonald Park is 574 acres. And many others are several hundreds of acres in size.
Currently in King County, there are no air assets available for firefighting, outside of State Department of Natural Resources air assets or contracted reginal air resources. No fire department in King County has an air asset such as a “Bambi Bucket”.
In 2015, there were discussions started within the King County fire community, related to the ability to access air assets for wildland fires. Discussions were held with the KC Sheriff Air Unit (Helicopters). It is the King County Fire Chiefs’ understanding that the KC Sheriff Air Unit could be made available; however, there is not a “water bucket” resource available in the county.
Chief Smith from Mountain View Fire and Rescue was appointed by the King County Fire Chiefs’ to spearhead the procurement of a Bambi Bucket and coordinate with the King County Sheriff’s Air Support Unit for Helicopter support.
On, Tuesday March 29th, Chief Smith met with King County Council Member Regan Dunn to seek his support and look for possible funding. This resource will cost about $ 22,000.00 to fully implement. Chief Smith is also coordinating with Fire agencies in the County to formulate Bambi Bucket request and operations procedures.
We hope to have this resource available for this year’s fire season that begins in about 90 days and last through September.