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Disaster Zone Podcast: Dangerous Western Washington Wildfires

An interview with a fire chief who went to work at 2 a.m.

It was 2 a.m. when East Pierce Fire and Rescue Chief Bud Backer was woken from a dead sleep and told it would be best if he responded to an ongoing fire(s) in his district. It was a good thing he did!

This Disaster Zone Podcast, "Dangerous Fires in Western Washington," is his story about those fires that erupted following a big windstorm. It was dicey at best. Fire mutual aid was not available to any great degree and even with Statewide Fire Mobilization he did not get much help because everyone else was also engaged in fires. 

They were lucky that only two homes were lost, but there could have been scores, even hundreds of homes burned in this fire, especially if it had happened other places in newer housing developments where the spacing between houses is minimal. 

I've shared this recently, but once again, here is the Seattle Times op-ed I wrote back in 2017 about the fire dangers in western Washington. While these fires were bad, they did not become the catastrophe that we've seen in California and Oregon. The fire danger in western Washington is likely over for 2020. We had 2 inches of rain in the last week. But next year could be a repeat of this year. 

The website everyone should visit to learn how to protect their home from wildfires is Firewise.


Eric Holdeman is a contributing writer for Emergency Management magazine and is the former director of the King County, Wash., Office of Emergency Management.
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