From Dana Stewart, Ponderosa Volunteer Fire Brigade Captain:
On October 16th, 2018 we experienced a fire in the meadow between Fox Drive and Ponderosa Drive. The fire was started by a local resident discarding hot coals at the edge of the meadow, behind their home on Fox Drive. The fire then began to spread into the dry meadow.
A long time resident and local neighbor called 911 but did not alert anyone on the Fire Brigade, which was established in order to implement initial suppression activities until local authorities arrive on the scene. We are lucky we had tree cutters in the area that began to cut a fire line around the fire in order to contain it and stop it from spreading. They did a very good job stopping the spread of fire beyond the meadow. As mentioned, 911 was activated and the alert went out to the County Fire authorities as well as the USFS.
Luckily this communication was heard by a friend of Michelle Gletne, who called Michelle to inquire as to the details and location of the fire. Michelle then contacted Tammi Stewart from the Fire Brigade, and they began to search and find the location within the Ponderosa. They also contacted Brigade members for immediate response. Tammi, Larry Gray and Roby Cope brought the fire truck to the meadow, while Michelle set off the siren and followed the protocol to set the Brigade in motion!
Brigade member Mathew Killian heard the siren and went straight to the firehouse to put on his fire gear and ran to the fire to assist. Larry Gray was the truck engineer and operated the panel to produce water to the hose reels on the truck, which we offered the fire authorities on the scene in order to extinguish the blaze. Once this was completed, they began the mop-up and investigation.
I believe we need to educate our locals who do not participate on the Fire Brigade, how to utilize the assets of the Brigade. If the Brigade would have been contacted initially, we could have had the fire out much quicker and with less damage to the meadow. By simply going to the firehouse and turning on the siren and identifying the location, the subdivision would have been alerted to the problem and a response would have been initiated immediately!
We were lucky the tree cutters were on the hill and acted on our behalf in order to isolate the fire until our truck arrived on the scene. Our Brigade members did an outstanding job, even in the face of the aforementioned challenges!
All residents, including renters, need to ensure they do not discard hot coals into the environment! The proper procedure would be to place hot coals into a metal container for at least 24 hours and then ensure all embers are completely out prior to discarding.
Please look for more articles in the Ponderosa newsletter and on the Ponderosa website about how YOU can help avoid future fires as well as respond appropriately if and when fires arise.
Chief, Ponderosa Fire Brigade