Sunland Wildfire Petition
Dear Grant County Emergency Management and GCWPP Steering Committee:
Thank you for the opportunity to provide comments on the recently drafted Grant County Wildfire Protection Plan (GCWPP). As residents of Sunland Estates, a tightly developed community of 434 homes on 549 residential lots on the eastern border of Grant County, we commend your efforts to engage the public and multiple organizations to improve wildfire protection in Central Washington.
We write to you today in the hopes that you will not finalize the GCWPP until a serious flaw in Grant County Public Utilities District (Grant PUD) Public Recreation Development Plan for Sunland Estates (PRDP) is resolved. As the PRDP currently stands, the most valuable fire defense element existing in Sunland Estates is in danger of being destroyed by Grant PUD. Despite the best and tireless effort of dozens of Sunland residents to work with Grant PUD, we have been unable to resolve this issue. Because of that we believe the existing fire safety status of Sunland Estates is at risk and we would like your assistance with a remedy.
In the PRDP, Grant PUD explains they plan to kill all the green irrigated areas currently surrounding Sunland. Grant PUD plans to cut and cap irrigation lines, use herbicide to kill irrigated vegetation, and plant up to 6,000 one-hour flash fuels (native grasses, wildflowers) and ten-hour shrub fuels, spaced only 3 or 6 feet apart on each of the approximately 40 acres Grant PUD manages in Sunland. Currently, those green, irrigated areas are the only active protection our community has against the flash fuels that surround us on all sides within Grant County and that loom high above us from miles of cliffs to our west in adjacent Kittitas County.
Please do what you can to encourage Grant PUD not to increase wildfire hazards in Grant County as the only way to fulfill their FERC mandate. Please help them recognize the right of hundreds of Washington State citizens and tax payers who would like to work with Grant PUD directly to establish a green defensible buffer for our 435 home community. Please urge the Grant PUD to cease killing green grass through capping of irrigation lines and use of herbicides until an agreement regarding the existing green, irrigated fire buffer can be reached with the residents of Sunland who care deeply about the fire protection and the safety of the emergency personnel.
Thank you very much for your time and attention to this matter. We truly appreciate the opportunity to provide these public comments.