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Govy CPO rallies to find funds for fire fuel cleanup posted on 11/01/2018

A yearly cleanup of fire fuels around Government Camp has gone through a number of iterations throughout the years, including prisoners from the Salem Women’s Correctional Center coming in last fall to do it. But due to a lack of funding, Nick Rinard, Chair of the Government Camp Community Planning Organization (CPO), noted that this year’s cleanup almost didn’t happen.

However, thanks to some last-minute fundraising and support, including $1,000 from the REVEL Race Series and Simon’s Tree Service willing to do the work for the limited budget, and the community’s fire fuels, totaling 22 brush piles, got chipped last month.

“We’re very grateful for (Simon),” Rinard said, noting that area home owners were putting in the work to clear brush away from their properties.

Rinard hopes to build upon the work next year, and in light of that, one community member started a Gofundme account to help raise money (https://www.gofundme.com/government-camp-fire-prevention), which received an anonymous donation of $5,000.

“They’re grateful the CPO is leading this effort,” Rinard said of the donor, adding that there has been a shift in the community regarding fire danger. “I think the forest fires the last two years were kind of a wakeup call for people.”

Rinard also noted that in the past, only “a trickle” of homeowners would participate in clearing fire fuels from their properties, but he sees momentum building with this recent effort.

He added that the topic of fire fuels is an ongoing one at CPO meetings, including such aspects as defensible space and ladder fuels. The next CPO meeting will be at 7 p.m. Friday, Nov. 9, at the Mt. Hood Cultural Center & Museum, 88900 Government Camp Loop in Government Camp.

Scott Kline, Fire Marshall for the Hoodland Fire District (HFD), noted that some steps homeowners can take to reduce fire fuels  around their properties including removing tree limbs over the roof line and close to a house (up to one-third of the tree height on smaller trees, keeping woodpiles at least 30 feet from a house and removing dead and dying plants next to a house.

The HFD lifted burning restrictions on Friday, Oct. 26, but burning is still regulated by the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality based on air conditions. Up to date burn information is available on the HFD Burn Information Line at 503-622-3463.

By Garth Guibord/MT

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