Fire District Welcomes New Fire Commissioner and Other Personnel Changes

Clark County Fire District 3 welcomes a new fire commissioner and announces other personnel changes to the fire district.

New fire commissioner
Fire Commissioner Dean Thornberry was sworn-in on August 8 and replaces Scott Anders who stepped down after accepting a job in another state. Thornberry spent 25 years in fire service, including 12 years with Clark County Fire District 3. He retired in 2016 as deputy chief at East County Fire and Rescue. Thornberry is a lifelong Clark County resident. He grew up in Ridgefield but now lives with his wife in the City of Battle Ground. He has two children and two grandchildren. His hobbies include hunting, fishing, and woodworking.

The fire district is looking forward to working with Thornberry and the perspective he brings as a Battle Ground resident to the board of commissioners.

District promotions
Firefighter/paramedic Dustin Waliezer has been promoted to EMS captain. He is responsible for EMS training, long-range measurable goals, and quality assurance. Waliezer began his career in 2001 as a volunteer with Clark County Fire District 3 and was inspired by his father’s service to pursue a career in fire/emergency medical services.

He earned his associate degree in paramedicine from Oregon Health Science University and is currently pursuing a bachelor’s degree in EMS Management through Oregon Institute of Technology and the Managing Officers Program through the National Fire Academy.

Captain Rob Moon is the fire district’s new Cadet program director. He is responsible for Cadet training and retention of the High School Fire Cadet Program. Moon started volunteering with the district in 1999 as a from-home responder and then as a shift volunteer in 2002. He was hired as a career firefighter in 2004 and in 2012, he became an instructor with the Cadet program. In 2016, he earned an associate degree from Portland Community College.

New firefighters
The fire district welcomes five new hires to replace four retiring members and Waliezer’s former firefighter position. Firefighters Tim Axelson and Bryan Bosch are former Clark County Fire District 3 volunteers, while Joseph Harnett, Hayden Lent and Adam Strizak are new to the district.

Fire Commissioner Dean Thornberry, center, takes the oath of office on August 8, 2022.

Firehouse Subs Public Safety Foundation Provides Critical Lifesaving Equipment Grant to Clark County Fire District 3 

Grant is part of more than $69 million given by Firehouse Subs Public Safety Foundation to public safety organizations across the U.S.

(Brush Prairie, Wash.) As summer continues, Clark County Fire District 3 is prepared to keep Clark County safe thanks to a grant from Firehouse Subs Public Safety Foundation. The Foundation recognized our need for new lifesaving equipment and awarded us $10,000 for new smoke alarms.

“We are extremely grateful to Firehouse Subs Public Safety Foundation and our local Firehouse Subs in Vancouver for providing us with this grant,” said Fire Marshal Chris Drone of Clark County Fire District 3. “This funding will allow us to provide even greater support and help save lives of residents in case of a fire.”

National statistics show that the risk of dying in a fire is reduced by half with a working smoke alarm.

The smoke alarms will be installed and used as part of Fire District 3’s Community Risk Reduction program, providing residents with much needed equipment at no cost. As part of this program, Clark County Fire District 3 will also ensure the community is aware of the following safety information:

  • heck its batteries every time you change your clocks in the fall and spring months.

For the past 16 years, donations have been the driving force behind Firehouse Subs Public Safety Foundation® supporting first responders and public safety organizations nationwide. To learn more about Firehouse Subs Public Safety Foundation or donate directly, visit FirehouseSubsFoundation.org.

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ABOUT FIREHOUSE SUBS PUBLIC SAFETY FOUNDATION

In 2005, the Firehouse Subs founders established the 501(c)(3), non-profit Firehouse Subs Public Safety Foundation. The charity provides lifesaving equipment, prevention education, scholarships and continued education, and disaster relief for first responders and public safety organizations, as well as support for members of the military. Since inception, Firehouse Subs Public Safety Foundation has awarded more than $69 million to hometown heroes in 49 states plus Puerto Rico and Canada.

Firehouse Subs Public Safety Foundation is honored to be listed as a four-star nonprofit organization, the highest designation, by Charity Navigator. Charity Navigator is the nation’s largest and most-utilized evaluator of charities. Grant allocations are made possible thanks to the overwhelming support of Firehouse Subs restaurants and generous donors. More than 70% of the funds raised for the Firehouse Subs Public Safety Foundation come from the generosity of Firehouse Subs guests and the restaurant brand. Please consider supporting a Firehouse Subs restaurant near you!

ABOUT CLARK COUNTY FIRE DISTRICT 3

Clark County Fire District 3 provides fire and life safety services to 40,000 people in east Clark County, including the city of Battle Ground. Fifty-seven full-time and 10 volunteer emergency personnel responded to 4,155 calls in 2020. Fire District 3 operates under a balanced budget and has a long history of passing its financial and accountability audits by the state. More information on Fire District 3 can be found on its website www.fire3.org.

Meet Firefighters and Emergency Personnel at Open Houses this Summer

Learn more about your fire district and enjoy free food and fun for the family

Clark County Fire District 3 invites the community to celebrate summer with free food and fun at a fire station near you in August and September.

Bring your family and friends and see how your tax dollars work to keep the community safe. Meet your local emergency responders, learn more about the fire district and enjoy free hot dogs, chips, soda, and water. Kids can play and stay cool in the “squirt house,” and firefighters will be handing out stickers and helmets to kids as well.

  • Saturday, Aug. 13 from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Station 35 (Battle Ground) 505 SW First St., Battle Ground
  • Saturday, Sept. 10 from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Station 34 (Rawson Rd., Elkhorn Mountain, Summer Hills) 24812 NE Rawson Rd., Brush Prairie

Fire District 3 and all its members are invested in seeing the community they serve live safely and thrive. Many of the district’s firefighters have chosen to make a career here because of the relationships they have developed with residents and the quality of life Clark County has to offer. The district values its relationship with the community, and Open Houses are a great way for firefighters and residents to connect, learn something, and have a little fun.

Clark County implements warm weather burn ban beginning July 15

FROM CLARK COUNTY FIRE MARSHAL DAN YOUNG:

Vancouver, Wash. – Starting at 12:01 a.m. Friday, July 15, all land clearing and residential burning in Clark County will be restricted until further notice.

The Fire Marshal also is rescinding all burning permits issued prior to the ban. Permits can be reissued or extended when the ban is lifted. The burning restrictions do not apply to federally managed lands.

“Along with DNR and neighboring counties (Pacific, Cowlitz, Lewis, Wahkiakum and Skamania) open burning in Clark County will be closed until Sept. 30,” said Clark County Fire Marshal Dan Young.

To have predictable and consistent burn bans, Clark, Cowlitz and Skamania counties jointly implement a policy to ban outdoor burning from July 15 through Sept. 30 each year. Designating this period was based on years of information about fuel conditions.

Recreational campfires on forest lands are allowed only 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 a metal-, stone- or masonry-lined fire pit such as those in improved campgrounds or available at 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 who has the ability and tools to extinguish the fire. Tools include a shovel and either five gallons of water or a connected and charged water hose.
  • Portable outdoor fireplaces, also known as patio fireplaces, designed to burn solid wood should not be operated within 15 feet of a structure or combustible material and must always be used in accordance with 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 campfires.

For more information, please contact the Fire Marshal’s Office at 564.397.2186 or visit the county’s website at https://clark.wa.gov/community-development/outdoor-burning.

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Water Safety: Letter from Fire Marshall Chris Drone

The weather is warming up and more people are out enjoying our beautiful lakes, rivers and beaches. As you head out this summer, we want you to be safe and know how to prevent an unintentional drowning.

Drowning is a leading cause of death for young children, but drowning does not discriminate, and no one is “drown-proof.” Enjoying the water, though, does not have to result in tragedy. In fact, most water-related accidents can be avoided by following a few simple guidelines:

  • Wear a life jacket
  • Don’t dive into unknown bodies of water, shallow water, or off bridges or cliffs
  • Area lakes and rivers are cold enough to shock or immobilize even the strongest swimmers
  • Know your limits; drownings often occur when swimmers get tired
  • Don’t swim alone
  • Swim in designated areas only; “no swimming” signs means the water isn’t safe for swimming
  • Keep children in your sights at all times; drownings can happen quickly and silently
  • Call 911 immediately if someone is in trouble

Being aware of your situation and following these guidelines makes a huge difference. Please enjoy the water safely this summer.

Chris Drone
Fire Marshall, Clark County Fire District 3

Clark County Fire District 3 Celebrates Lifesaving Public Servants

District acknowledges eight award recipients

The public generally agrees that firefighters are heroes; they show up for emergencies, and they run toward danger while others are encouraged to flee. But their necessary knowledge of fire science, the expansive roles they play in the community, and their commitment to a challenging profession are also heroic.

“Not every fire starts with a match or on a greasy stovetop,” says Fire Chief Scott Sorenson. After firefighters subdue a blaze, they are tasked with determining its cause. Sorenson continues, “Our firefighters have a breadth understanding in regard to chemistry, physics, and engineering. This helps us deduce not only a point of origin but how a fire began.”

Firefighting is often grueling, with physically and emotionally-challenging calls. These first responders, as East Clark County and Battle Ground residents have witnessed, are on scene for auto vehicle accidents and emergency service calls, often functioning as medical technicians. They also work throughout the community ensuring that citizens of all ages understand strategies for lifesaving fire prevention and emergency preparedness.

Clark County Fire District 3 understands the value of recognizing these heroes for the invaluable work they do and their contributions to the safety and peace of mind for 43,000 local residents. This year, they honored the following heroes on staff: Jason Mansfield, Captain EMT, for Firefighter of the Year; Jerik Traffie, Firefighter Paramedic, for Rookie of the Year; Brian George, Captain EMT, for Excellence in Action; and Taylor Nye, Probationary Firefighter EMT, for Volunteer of the Year.

Four additional employees were recognized with a Meritorious Service Award, including Josh Alexander, Firefighter EMT; Zane Norris, Firefighter EMT; Bryce Ponder, Firefighter Paramedic; and Joe Stiffler, Captain EMT.

The following employees were commended for milestone years service. For 35 illustrious years of dedicated service, we thank Jeffrey Stewart, Battalion Chief.

For 20 years of service, we thank Larry Bauska, Training Captain and Cadet Program Director; Joe Gray, Training Captain; Craig Martinell, Captain EMT; Joe Stiffler, Captain EMT; and Tony Wagar, Captain EMT.

For 15 years of service, we thank Nolan Meyer, Captain Paramedic; Tony Mitchum, Firefighter EMT; and Andrew Wolf, Captain Paramedic.

Celebrating five years with us, we thank Josh Hall, Firefighter EMT; Zach Helmes, Firefighter EMT; and Andrew Lyons, Firefighter EMT.

Chief Sorenson states, “Our community is remarkably fortunate to have the men and women of this agency working tirelessly to protect lives and property. It’s an honor for us annually to highlight the exceptional contributions and longevity from this team.”

Fire District 3’s Annual Pancake Breakfast is Back   

Proceeds will go to benefit several families in Ukraine

For over 30 years, Clark County Fire District 3 has hosted an annual pancake breakfast in June during Hockinson Fun Days.  After missing two years due to the pandemic, Fun Days and the pancake breakfast is back in-person!

Fire District 3 will host an Open House and Pancake Breakfast on Saturday, June 4, 2022 from 7:00 a.m. – 11:30 a.m.  at the Hockinson Fire Station #31 (17718 NE 159th ST, Brush Prairie, WA 98606).

Tickets for the breakfast are available now for pre-sale at Station 31 (debit and credit cards accepted) or online at bit.ly/3yHhOrD (with a small convenience fee). The tickets are $7 per person, or $25 for a family.  

The pancake breakfast is a fundraiser to benefit families or individuals of our community that are in need. This year, the fire district is dedicating proceeds to several family members of Fire District 3 Captain Andrey Zalozh that are living in war-torn Ukraine. 

Zalozh’s multiple family members are living in fear with shelling and frequent air raid sirens, with adults and children alike wondering if they will get to see another day. According to one family member, “We are not living, we are surviving.” Funds raised will help Zalozh’s mother and extended family purchase the basics amidst escalating prices and supply challenges.  

Online donations to support the Ukrainian families can be made at GoFundMe bit.ly/3LkayES. Fire District 3 will accept donations until June 6, 2022. 

Fire Danger Sign

We’re listening! Thanks to outreach from several Venersborg neighbors, the first fire danger sign has been installed on NE Risto Rd near NE Lehto Rd. We appreciate all of our community members wanting to make our area safer and reduce fire risk!

The risk is LOW right now, but it is the perfect time to start thinking about yard clean-up to reduce wildland fire risk! Tips and additional resources are available on our website at https://fire3.org/wildland-preparedness-tips/.