Frank Solle's Wildfire Story and Photos

A small fire begun by two young visitors last Saturday in order to combat the mosquitos that were bothering them on a walk quickly escalated beyond their control in a clearing on Rybaski's Road just north of Sloptown road and diagonally between Protar's home and tomb. A quick response by our fire department and EMS crews, plus a tremendous turnout of volunteers led to the containment of the fire before a true disaster struck. Aiding the effort from the sky was Paul Welke who flew above the fire and helped direct the ground crews
to the best locations to battle the blaze.

Within a couple hours the 8-10 acre fire was under control and completely surrounded by a fire break. Four local contractors brought their bulldozers or backhoes along with Doug Tilly who brought his tractor equipped with a power tiller which did a great job of turning much of the area into mineral earth and thus unable to burn.

Water trucks then cruised around and through the area in order to pump water on to the remaining hot spots while those with shovels attacked the smaller areas. The fire was completely out by 6 p.m. Fire chief Tim McDonough said he returned to the area around 9 p.m. and was quite satisfied the area was secure. A small amount of rain
that night was also helpful in double-dousing the area.

This was an event that once again proved the united spirit of cooperation and continuity of Island residents. We may argue about this or that in the morning but when someone, or in a case like this that could have involved many more, needs help, everything is put aside to work together.

(Left) Smoke easily seen from a distance.

(2nd from left) Darrell Butler, Jr. knocks down a burning tree along the edge of the
burn area.

(3rd from left) Jim McDonough sprays water on part of the fire while Steve Crandall
mads the pump

(Far right) Todd and Joe McDonough spray out of the old pump truck

Bruce Cull

Dave Schwartzfisher

Tom Whitman