Wildland Program One Step Closer

Chief Nick Tyler going over call volumes during the April 16 board meeting. Photo by Sky Chappell

Members of the board discussed an update on the upcoming wildland program during the Sweet Home Fire Board meeting that took place April 16.

Fire Chief Nick Tyler and Wildland Fire Division Program Manager Christian Whitfield presented the board with a 23-page document highlighting various things all contributing to the wildland program.

Whitfield’s position is funded through a grant for the purpose of managing the Community Wildfire Risk Reduction Program. The next step is for SHFAD to hire a handcrew funded by the National Forest Foundation (NFF) that will assist homeowners with creating a defensible space around their homes and other structures, as well as working within the forest surrounding the Sweet Home area.

The documents submitted to the board included legalities and the contract between the Forest Service and the NFF; the technical proposal of 40 miles of work; the map of the project as well as the financials; $1.9 million amount the NFF is granting to do the project; and a 20-person crew costing about $906,000.

Chief Tyler was requesting pre-authorization from the board to vote on his ability to sign the document as it hits his desk.

“There is an element of blind faith,” Chief Tyler said. “We’re optimistic, and confident, but I’m nervous about over-selling.”

The wildland program will be beginning with the hopes of creating potential control lines for fires. These control lines would not only be an employment opportunity, but would also be a way into fire service without having to do medical.

“There is a large number of people who don’t like EMS, but want to fight fire,” Whitfield said.

Chief Tyler told the board he will be in front of city council on April 23 to discuss the project.

Board member Charlene Adams made the motion to approve the authorization for the signing, and the motion passed unanimously.

“I think that this is going to be a huge milestone for the district and the community,” Chief Tyler said.

In other business:

  • The board covered financials and call volume for the month of March
  • Madison Yoch from Alyrica requested the usage of Sweet Home Fire and Ambulance District (SHFAD) unused property and presented to the board Alyrica information
  • The new owner of the Bohemian Club requested buying a stretch of property owned by SHFAD
  • Bret Gaskey will be volunteering to sit on the budget committee
  • Chief Tyler recognized firefighter Josh Marvin, who recently finished his bachelor’s degree in fire service administration
  • Discussion of shop projects being finished
  • Josh Marvin is looking into the possibility of hosting an EMT course
  • Ambulance and Ambulance Service licensing renewal was discussed
  • Training report was discussed
  • The New District website was discussed
  • City Councilor Dave Trask presented to the board a discrepancy with the chief
  • Zach Lincoln discussed documents given to the board and the lack of response from those documents concerning potential litigation