The fire season of 2021 was memorable with numerous sizable wildfires including the Gibson Flats Fire, Stuckey Fire, and Vineyard 2.0 Fire.
This year, there weren't as many, leaving volunteer fire departments with time to catch a breath. Summer 2022 was a breeze compared to last year for many rural firefighters. Sand Coulee's biggest fire was about 150 acres. They say it was likely caused by a combine hitting a rock which sparked grass. They also say last year was a wakeup call for the community.
“This was very minor compared to previous years,” said Captain Doug Hove. “I’ve been out here about 24 years. This was a quiet summer. I think maybe people are smarter, more fire smart, fire aware. After the Gibson Flats Fire people are more conscious of what they're doing.”
Many rural and volunteer fire departments were expecting a busy summer. Vaughn was one of them. They haven't been able to use their new "beast" truck much but say it's a good problem to have. They were expecting another busy fire season, but it was very manageable, they say.
“We haven’t really spread her wings much, but she’s been great on every call she’s gone on,” assistant fire chief Ken Hanks said of their new truck. “We've been pretty fortunate this summer. The activity has been mild compared to previous years and we haven't had the Stuckey fires and the Vineyard 2.0 fires this year. But we're fortunate. If Mother Nature cooperates with us and we keep on getting rain, we will be doing all right. We were honestly expecting to get hammered after last year, but we’ve been lucky. We got super fortunate all around the county.”
County VFDs also want to remind residents to be fire safe and to visit your nearby department if you're interested in volunteering.
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JULY 5, 2022: