The Methow Valley Interpretive Center and I would like to thank the Methow Valley News and its fine journalist Ann McCreary for featuring the article announcing our Methow Artifact Research Project.
We have had a great response and much valuable information has been the result. We do encourage others who have found artifacts to allow us to photograph and analyze them. Any articles donated will be displayed at the Interpretive Center and those we are only photographing and recording will become part of the record of the native Methow people’s journey through time. The results will be published in the future and certainly updates will result in presentations of photos and information through lectures at the Interpretive Center.
We encourage more participation in this important and original project and guarantee privacy for those who wish it. We are grateful for the article and the participants who are allowing us to study their artifacts and I invite others to step forward. Please call us at 997-2284 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Rich Davis, Twisp
Smokejumper base priorities
“Fire occurrence and response time” is listed as the No. 1 factor in the Preliminary Project Analysis by the U.S. Forest Service and NorthStar Technology Corp. regarding the future of the North Cascades Smokejumper Base. Anyone with a bit of geographical comprehension, however, can see that Winthrop is closest to the most roadless fire terrain, and that the analysis was based on arbitrary circles for flight times. These circles oversimplify and under-rate the obvious fact that we’re closer to more roadless forest than Wenatchee.
Having now read the backgrounds of the NorthStar consultants, I can see why that factor was poorly evaluated. As a retired National Park and Forest Wilderness ranger, who jumped out of Missoula, of course I see things differently.
Personnel continuity was neither listed nor apparently considered, and this should be the No. 2 factor. Training new jumpers was at least evaluated, but their older, more-experienced jumpers are the ones making the most critical decisions. Fire management is only as good as the people doing it. This factor far outweighs any direct and short-term economic impact.
Our forest’s health ultimately has the most influence on our lives. Currently active or recently retired smokejumpers from here should be the ones doing the evaluating and design of new or upgraded buildings. Without their wealth of experience we’ll still be left fighting, rather than managing, fire. This would be more tragic business as usual. We need adequate funding for fire personnel, fuel reduction, and related science, both here and elsewhere.
The time to plan for improving our jump base is now, so that those plans will be ready to go immediately, if and when adequate funding does become available — and quickly, before the fickle political pendulum swings back again against forests and parks. Of course, funding isn’t currently available. Good plans anticipate a better possible future, not past mistakes, and better planning makes a better future more likely. Meanwhile, the present forest personnel can’t be expected to put their jobs at risk. More retired rangers and informed citizens need to speak out, to help the Forest Service do what’s best.
Eric Burr, Mazama
Thanks, Mazama Store
Many thanks to Missy, Rick and the LeDuc family for sharing their 10-year celebration with the community. The pork sliders and sides were delicious! But the best thing is the environment and opportunity the Mazama Store has consistently provided for the community to gather and socialize.
The LeDucs have taken the store to the next level with the significant improvements they have made to the physical building, the grocery offerings, the merchandise at the Goat’s Beard and their widespread community support. Your customers appreciate the hard work and efforts of you and your staff to not only meet our needs, but go beyond. Awesome!
Nancy Kuta, Mazama
For the record
In the article “300 people file lawsuit seeking damages from state DNR for 2014 Carlton Complex Fire” (June 6), it was reported that the plaintiffs’ claim that DNR did not actively suppress the small fires that started July 14, 2014, and which subsequently grew into the Carlton Complex fire.
I remember that Monday, July 14, when widespread lightning was forecast. But I also remember the day before, Sunday, July 13, when I watched a late-morning series of lightning bolts striking just east of Bowen Mountain. I live above Twin Lakes Road and I have a sweeping view of the east side of the valley. By Sunday afternoon I could see a thin column of smoke rising from behind Bowen Mountain. On each of the next few days that column got bigger. It was the Cougar Flats fire, which grew into the northern portion of the Carlton Complex when everything blew up with the winds on Thursday.
The following week, when fire reports and official information started to come out saying that the fires had started on July 14, I spoke to a number of people about what I had seen. Nobody seems to have taken me seriously. I wondered at the time if it was because nobody wanted to admit how long they had let the Cougar Flats fire burn before taking it seriously. I regret that I did not report the smoke when I first saw it, but I assumed that it was so obvious that I didn’t need to.
I’m not a party to the lawsuit, but I do feel an obligation to set the record straight. The Cougar Flats fire started on Sunday, July 13. If there was a period when DNR or anyone else was negligent in not engaging the fire, that period was one day longer than commonly understood.
Alan Watson, Winthrop
What can we do?
A question for residents of Mazama, Lost River and the rest of the Methow Valley: How can we advocate for appropriate allocation of resources in containing the Diamond Creek Fire?
As of today (Sept. 11), the local district level Type 3 management team’s requests for a higher level Type 2 management team have not been granted, per my discussions with U.S. Forest Service information officers. Some strategies to contain the fire, such as a back burn from current contingency lines, are considered effective but not possible with current resources.
As a resident of Mazama impacted by this potentially historic fire, I have requested “assistance in dealing with a federal agency” from our Congressman Dan Newhouse, whose staff have offered to relay to different levels of the Forest service the fact that constituents are concerned that their local fire managers are not receiving the assistance they feel most indicated by current circumstances. The Methow Valley News continues to keep our questions regarding best practices in fighting this fire at the forefront of local coverage.
What else can we do to advocate for our fire managers in getting the assistance they request?
Chris Hogness, Mazama