Volunteers thin trees around communication equipment
By Marcy Stamper
Vital infrastructure for emergency communications, phone service and radio broadcasts will be better protected from wildfire after a dozen volunteers with Team Rubicon finish thinning dense stands of dogleg trees on the summit of McClure Mountain next week.
Although hazardous-fuels reduction on the 4,560-foot peak has been on the radar, so to speak, for years, the project came together quickly in the past six months after a representative from Team Rubicon contacted Methow Valley District Ranger Mike Liu.
The representative was looking for opportunities to work on a project that would provide skills training for his volunteers while benefiting the ranger district and the public, said Liu.
Liu proposed thinning the trees closest to the buildings, towers and high-tech equipment on McClure. The project was particularly attractive because it would provide experience with chainsaws, which could help the volunteers qualify for forest or firefighting jobs, he said.
Twelve Team Rubicon volunteers, plus an incident commander, arrived in the valley on Friday (June 9) and will work through this weekend. Although most had never done tree work before, on their third day the team surveyed their progress with pride.
“You couldn’t see any mountains before we did the thinning,” said volunteer Linda Adye-Whitish as she looked at snow-capped peaks on the horizon.
“These guys have been kicking butt and…
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