Cle Elum Neighborhood Recognized As Firewise

<p>Firewise Award</p>

Firewise Award

Carolyn Berglund remembers it like it was yesterday; crowds of firefighters, helicopters and airplanes, making their way towards burning hills billowing with smoke.

"It felt almost like you were in a warzone; and it was a warzone, we were right on the edge of a war against a fire," said Berglund.

It's been almost a year since the wildfire scorched enough land to cover the city of Seattle, destroying 61 homes.

Many remember being evacuated, not knowing if they'd ever see their home again.

"There were many times that we thought we'd lost everything, because the smoke was so dense, the flames were so close," said Claire Lucke.

Luckily, these houses were spared.

Last fall, the people who live here decided to start fireproofing their property.

"We didn't really realize until the Taylor Bridge Fire how huge a fire can get," said Berglund, "And how it can threaten not only the people that are out in the woods, but the people that are in the grassland."

There are three simple steps you can take to fireproofing your property.

First, you can replace the surrounding area with gravel, remove any low-lying branches from your trees to keep the fire on the ground, and lastly, keep any kind of flammable objects away from your home.

Department of Natural Resources officials say if these steps had been taken a year ago, it could have potentially saved over 60 homes from being destroyed.

"A lot of the resources that we normally use to put out the fire in the forested environment wouldn't have had to be diverted to help defend the homes."

Berglund says fireproofing her home will hopefully inspire others in the area to do the same, but she's also grateful to the firefighters.
"If it wasn't for the firefighters and the first responders that came out, I just... I don't know where we'd be," said Berglund.

Those who lost their home in the Taylor Bridge Fire are suing the company responsible for starting it.

The neighborhood was the 100th in the state to be recognized as firewise.