On Saturday, August 27, Pulaski County Emergency Services joined forces with Team Rubicon in the Draper Estates area to mitigate wildfire hazards on the mountain.
Pulaski County Emergency Services Coordinator, Brad Wright, stated, “Wildfire is a real threat to residents in Pulaski County that is mostly overlooked, the same could be said for Maui and Louisiana. These two locations are currently reeling from historic wildfires that raged in these areas in the past month, causing the loss of life and destroying structures. Our goal for Pulaski County is to continue to educate residents on the risk of wildfires and to work to mitigate the risk before the fire starts.”
In 2016 a brush fire spread across Draper Mountain, threatening several homes. Leading up to the 2016 fire, several years of mitigation work was completed in the Draper Mountain Estates area. This work provided a “defensible space” around the homes in that area and allowed firefighters to save them. Safety is one of the county’s main priorities and is why, each year, it holds a Community Wildfire Preparedness Day event.
Team Rubicon graciously stepped in to provide their volunteer services alongside Pulaski County Emergency Management staff for the second time in three years to prevent a fire like 2016’s from occurring again. The group is led by U.S. military veterans from all over the country who are dedicated to serving their country and keeping its people safe. Since 2013, the group has saved communities across the country over $35 million from their volunteer services and has provided volunteers and services for both disaster relief and mitigation.
Groups from both Pulaski County and Team Rubicon gathered at Central Gym in downtown Pulaski for a briefing session before they took off up the mountain to get started. Once there, the teams split into different groups to tackle the assigned tasks for the day. Tasks included the construction of fire breaks, dropping of hazardous trees, thinning of brush, and stacking of hazardous materials into piles.
Other groups and individuals also contributed to the project including New River Highlands RC&D and State Farm Agent, Deanie Hall, who donated $500 to cover the cost of feeding the volunteers. Wright stated, “We are happy to have the partnership with Team Rubicon, State Farm Agent, Deanie Hall, and the New River Highlands RC&D with our yearly Community Wildfire Preparedness Day event. Without these partners we would not be able to achieve the objectives that are identified in our County Wildfire Protection Plan.”
Wright continued, stating, “Pulaski County continues to chip away at the highest priority projects by assessing conditions and updating our plans as needed. If you would like to learn more about your home’s risk for wildfire, please contact Pulaski County Emergency Management at 540-994-2574.