Editor’s Note: Lee Grose represents East Lewis County on the Board of Lewis County Commissioners.
As Lewis County commissioner, I was privileged to be a part of several meetings with the U.S. Forest Service as we waited and worried together regarding the Goat Rocks Fire. And as one who has given my share of criticism to the Forest Service over the years, I feel compelled to express my sincere appreciation to Interim Cowlitz Valley District Ranger James Donahey and the various fire teams that have been serving us in East Lewis County.
From the lightning strike in early August up to and including the evacuation notices and continuing on a daily basis, the “task force” has kept me and the local residents well informed about the status of the fire. With the help of the Lewis County Department of Emergency Management (LCDEM) and Fire District #10 (Packwood), we have been able to keep abreast of virtually every move that was being made to control the fire and keep our residents and the community of Packwood safe. A special thanks goes out to The Salvation Army, the Red Cross and volunteers from various county government departments who gave up part or all of their weekend to man the evacuation center in Randle and to the White Pass School District for providing the space. And to those who offered up their homes and farms for temporary housing.
In my many conversations with District Ranger Donahey and Fire Liaison Doug Dahl, as well as during the daily updates, I was amazed at how well the various operations and organizations worked together. The coordination of the activities to be performed went smoother than could have been imagined. This, I felt, was due in large part to the ability of all involved to be clearly informed. I felt comfortable returning home Saturday, knowing that the outcome was in the best of hands. The last public meeting that was held was attended by over 150 people, and the information presented was clear, concise and informative.
My heartfelt thanks goes out to all of those who have been a part of this operation, and to the residents of Packwood who left their homes without question when asked to evacuate.
I’ll end with a final plug for Lewis County Alert, the telephone notification system adopted by the county. If you have not registered, please do so. This system automatically notifies you if there is a pending event (fire, flood or whatever) in your specific area. You can sign up by clicking on the Lewis County Alert icon at the bottom of the county website (www.lewiscountywa.gov) or by calling LCDEM at 360-740-1151. Please do so now!
A special thanks to all. Lewis County truly is a great place to live.
Lewis County Commissioner, District 3