The Spokane Valley Fire Department services a unique geographical area with a variable climate and topography.
Fruithill Road Fire: Valley crews battle fast moving fire that threatened several homes on 4/29/2006. FD #9 and a PBY assisted bringing the flames under control. Minor damage to one home.
The elements that make this community special also create unique challenges to the fire department that protects it. Summer season in this region is known for moderate to hot dry days which tends to dry out not only lawns but the native grasses, trees and other vegetation. Dry vegetation coupled with the development of homes into wooded and semi wooded areas creates what we in the fire service refer to as the Wildland-Urban Interface. Wildland-Urban interface areas are most impacted from fires started naturally such as lightning strikes or accidentally from unattended fire pits or burning brush during high risk times. SVFD makes all attempts to extinguish these fires quickly before they consume homes or property. SVFD personnel complete annual training based on methods to attack and extinguish these fire with as little property loss as possible. SVFD also strives to prevent future fires from occurring through pro-active education, newsletters and Wildland-Urban Interface Pre-Planning available to all homeowners in the district.
Education is the first tool in protecting your home from wildfire and SVFD has developed tools and techniques that can aid in making your home more defendable. Ideas to utilize include trimming back overgrown bushes and trees, keeping a green manicured lawn or watered area around your home, and removing dried pine needles or leaves from your roofs and rain gutters. In high risk Wildland-Urban Interface areas it is best to know more than one exit point out of your subdivision in the instance that a fire blocks your primary route you are able to safely exit out the other. SVFD will continue to train it’s personnel to defend your homes against Urban Interface Wildland fires and we encourage you to create and use the defensible ideas listed above. A defensible space could just save your home or property.
Valleyview Fire: 12 homes and several out buildings were destroyed. The fire broke out the afternoon of July 10, 2008. Winds were reaching 50 mph and was a major factor contributing to the loss of the homes and approx. 1000 acres burned. Several area fires were already burning when this fire broke out and local resources were already depleted, which slowed the response to this incident. Resources and firefighters from all local departments assisted as well as several state resources, and a WA state Type 2 incident management team.
All SVFD firefighters are certified to combat wildland fires and the Department is capable of deploying 3 specialized wildland engines and 2 Wildland-Urban Interface (UWI) engines to combat these specialized types of fires. Additional support for combating UWI fires can be received in a timely manner from neighboring agencies and in significant events, through a State of Washington mobilization process that can deploy teams from departments throughout the state. SVFD provides personnel and equipment to support the mobilization process as part of a regional Spokane County effort to combine resources from many different departments in a coordinated manner.
Video on Spokane Valley’s 2008 Valley View Fire and the FireWise program to create defensible space: http://wsm.wsu.edu/s/we.php?id=288