In the past week there have been two wildfires set loose by burn piles that ignited adjacent fuels. One of them was in the town limits. We have a volunteer fire department that must leave their homes or work to respond to these incidents. Accidents happen and that’s why we have a fire department. Let’s be grateful for their work and that these fires were quickly controlled before major property damage or danger ensued. As spring marches forward, can more fire be avoided? You bet.
The fire pyramid calls for three ingredients for combustion: oxygen, heat and fuel. If you eliminate one element, fire can’t happen. The weather forecast calls for temperatures to climb this week, drying out dead vegetation even more.
Thanks to a cooperative yard debris chipping and collection program, we can eliminate unwanted vegetation and debris that serves as fuel. Sponsored by a group of local organizations including the Town of Twisp, Clean Air Methow, Okanogan County Conservation District, Resilient Methow, Okanogan County, Fire Adapted Methow and Department of Ecology, yard debris burning can be avoided all together, lowering the risk of wildfire in our community.
Twisp Town residents, mark your calendars for curbside pickup and chipping on May 1 and 2. Woody twigs and branches can be placed perpendicular to the street with the cut ends out, and town crews will come by and load them up, haul them away, and chip them. Wow, how convenient! Chips can later be collected for free at Twisp Town Park afterwards. All other residents outside town limits can dispose of their natural fuels from yard waste at the county transfer station on April 28, May 3 and May 5 from 10 a.m.-3 p.m. The transfer station will take leaves, pine needles, cones as well as twigs. It’s free, it doesn’t create smoke, and you don’t have to worry about tending a fire.
Don’t get me wrong, I like burning too, it’s a very useful tool. It can be meditative, calling on a primitive drive in the human psyche. After all, it’s fire that set humanity on a course of progress and evolution. Without it, we would never have evolved large brains, and instead we would be spending precious calories and time digesting fibrous material in our gut. Fire made cooking possible, enabling our bodies able to divert energy to our brains and the trajectory of human evolution took off. We would not have developed written language, agriculture, or forged metal were it not for fire.
Sometimes I still use fire on a limited basis, but this program offers a free and easy alternative, so why not use it? Thank you to all the partners in this program to lessen our fire risk, keep our air clean, and manage our landscape cooperatively. Besides, the smell of smoldering yard waste makes me nauseous after the relentless years of wildfire smoke; I appreciate this program immensely.
Spring chores can leave one in need of some relaxation. Coming up May 13, Cascadia Music will present a special performance, “Music of the Americas.” Featuring Cascadia musicians, the Pipestone Youth Orchestra, and the choir, the music features jazz, folk, spiritual and blues numbers from disparate cultures reaching from North America to South America. A prelude to the performance will open with the Hottell Ragtime Band at 6:30 p.m., followed by an opportunity to meet performers prior to the concert at 7 p.m. Admission is by donation at the Methow Valley Community Center in Twisp.