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It’s a disturbing trend: More Firefighters and First-Responders are dying every year by suicide than all line-of-duty deaths combined.

Friday night, May 17th, Firefighters with Clark County Fire District 6 want to remember those who have taken their own lives and send a message that there is hope and help available.

The national event is called “Those Left Behind”. At 9 p.m. fire engines at all District 6 stations will be positioned outside, and for one full minute all engine and truck lights will be turned on. We encourage anyone who wants to participate to join their local firefighters or to simply stand in their driveways with a lit candle to remember the families who are suffering through these preventable losses.

District 6 recently formed a Peer Support Team to provide support to our members who have had a difficult call or who are suffering from PTSD. 

Mental health has become a major concern in the fire service, and the Firefighter Behavioral Health Alliance remains committed to honoring those firefighters and first responders who struggle with issues such as post-traumatic stress disorder.

The FBHA will continue its efforts this week by hosting its fifth annual extended weekend retreat, “Those Left Behind,” in Heber City, UT, beginning on Thursday. The event is for the families of firefighters and EMS personnel who have taken their own lives.

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Effective 8 am Wednesday, May 15, Clark County will lift the temporary burn ban that was imposed last week.

With rain currently falling and the forecast calling for more, Fire Marshal Jon Dunaway said it is safe to lift the current burn ban. “We are set to get a healthy dose of rain this week. That forecast, along with what rain is falling currently, gives us enough confidence to lift the burn ban.”

At the same time Clark County lifts the burn ban, the Department of Natural Resources will reset the fire danger on DNR-protected lands from moderate to low. This will open those areas back up for permitted and rule burning.

Burning still needs to be done in a safe manner. Dunaway urges the public to follow the rules outlined on the burning permit and make sure the burn pile is completely extinguished and cold to the touch before leaving it unattended.

Fire Safety

Fire safety is everyone’s responsibility! All outdoor fires must be constantly attended by an adult until the fire is extinguished. Provide adequate means for extinguishing a fire and keep it readily available. Don’t burn if wind conditions make it hazardous to do so. Adhere to the fire safety requirements listed on your permit.

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Near Record Temps are expected over the next couple days. The US National Weather Service Portland Oregon has issued a Fire Weather Watch and a RED FLAG Warning for Clark County on Friday Afternoon.

A Red Flag Warning means that Critical Fire Weather Conditions are either occurring now or will shortly. A combination of the above conditions can contribute to extreme fire behavior.

Due to the weather forecast for the rest of this week, Clark County is joining Skamania and Cowlitz counties in imposing a temporary ban on outdoor land clearing and residential burning effective at midnight tonight, May 9. Conditions will be assessed on Monday morning to determine if the ban should be lifted or left in place for a longer period of time.

Recreational campfires are still allowed if built in improved fire pits in designated campgrounds, such as commercial campgrounds and local, county and state parks. On private land, recreational fires are permitted when built according to the following regulations:

  • Recreational fires must be in metal-, stone- or masonry-lined fire pits in improved campgrounds or purchased from home and garden stores.
  • Size may not exceed 3 feet in diameter by 2 feet in height.
  • Fires must be at least 25 feet from a structure or other combustible material and have at least 20 feet of clearance from overhead fuels such as tree limbs, patio covers or carports.
  • Fires must be attended at all times by a responsible person at least 16 years old with the ability and tools to extinguish the fire. Tools include a shovel and either five gallons of water or a water hose connected and working.
  • Portable outdoor fireplaces, also known as patio fireplaces, should not be operated within 15 feet of a structure or combustible material. They must always be used according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
  • Completely extinguish recreational fires by covering them with water or moist soil and stirring with a shovel until all parts are cool to the touch.

Self-contained camp stoves are a safe and easy alternative to camp fires for cooking.

Fire Safety

Fire safety is everyone’s responsibility! All outdoor fires must be constantly attended by an adult until the fire is extinguished. Provide adequate means for extinguishing a fire and keep it readily available. Don’t burn if wind conditions make it hazardous to do so. Adhere to the fire safety requirements listed on your permit.

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We say thank you and farewell to a man who has spent years shaping the direction of Clark County Fire District 6. In his 38+ years here Chief David Taylor has held nearly every position in this Fire District. He leaves us for a well deserved retirement, and a chance to spend time with family and friends.

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