October 10, 2012 | LXXII, No. 28

Winds (and fires) of change have blown

In the wake of our recent wildfires, the community likely needs to think about details the now-gone hillside vegetation used to take care of for us.

We take for granted the roles played by the everyday, the mundane. A couple of examples may serve to pique our senses into anticipation:

• My cat has been getting fat. That’s because (and I admit this is an assumption) because the fire over Coulee Dam devastated the habitat of perhaps thousands of mice, who now show up nightly in our backyard like souls to the pearly gates. Multiple rodent carcasses require frequent back-patio removal duty. Now, I’m worried about the cat, as neighbors have reportedly begun using rodent poison.

• Federal officials considering the burned areas around Wenatchee are warning residents to think hard about, and protect themselves against, flooding. Perhaps we should too. The roots of sage and grass and other brush used to hold down soil. Across more than 90,000 acres of our fragile local landscape, that thin protection is gone. A stiff wind last week kicked up thick dust and soot. A good rain could bring it down quickly into hillside neighborhoods or homes.

As this is Fire Prevention Week, this is not a bad time to give these added worries their due consideration, along with your new or revised home evacuation plan, and changing the batteries in your smoke alarms. The sooner the better. The rainy season is coming, and we surely now realize we can’t take anything for granted.

— Scott Hunter

editor and publisher

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