Fire Chief shares lesser known wildfire risks, how you can help

PASCO, Wash. – Everyday, Franklin County Fire District Number Three starts their shift assessing the current conditions and discussing what could possibly come their way.

“The temperature, the relative humidity and the winds and then we kind of come up with a safety message,” Chief Mike Harris said.

When the temperature is high, Chief Mike Harris said they prepare as much as possible.

“Use the weather as one of the factors of everything we do,” he explained.

So far, the heat has already proven to be a risk.

On Monday, multiple fire crews, including Franklin County No. Three, responded to a wildfire near the Lower Monumental Dam.

On Tuesday, crews put out a blaze near I-82. Later that night, they faced a brush fire off of West Canal Avenue in Kennewick.

While filming this story, crews were called out to a vegetation fire in Pasco.

Harris said this is why we all need to do our part to prevent fires, especially as people hit the road this summer.

“Hot exhaust, catalytic converter, your engine block just sitting over the top of dry grass could ignite a fire. Having your tow chains, on your boats and your trailers secured so they don’t drag along the asphalt and the concrete because if you drag a chain you could send sparks to the side of the road. Discarding something as small as a cigarette could start a fire on the side of the road, and it doesn’t take long to double and triple the size of that fire,” Harris said.

Wildfires also stretch resources thin and leave less people in town to respond to unpreventable incidents.

“We are one or two, three fires at the same time away from having a major disaster. Keeping wildfire out of our community keeps firefighters safe and the public safe,” Harris added.

The fire chief reminds everyone ahead of Fourth of July to beware of their city or county’s fireworks code, and be smart when handling them.

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