Chelan County is considering a unique approach to fighting wildfires in the coming seasons.

The county’s board of commissioners is pursuing the possible purchase of storage containers designed for railcars that can be used to hold water.

Commissioner, Bob Bugert, says the containers would be permanently deployed to selected areas within the county.

“We can get these up to remote areas throughout the county where we have a high risk of wildfire and very little access to water. We can stack them up or place them side by side and fill them up with water for the wildfire season.”

Each container can hold about 21,000 gallons of water and can be easily modified to allow various firefighting apparatus to draw from its reserves.

Bugert says it’s one of the most innovative ideas for wildfire mitigation he’s ever seen.

“In all the work that I’ve done on wildfires in the past years, this to me is one of the most practical and economical approaches we can use for wildfire response. It’s elegantly simple and we think this would be able to increase our response time to wildfires.”

Bugert adds the containers are relatively inexpensive and the county is exploring funding options through the Washington Department of Natural Resources (DNR).

Next Monday (October 10), the commissioners will host a tour of several sites where the containers might be placed, which will include Sen. Brad Hawkins, Reps. Keith Goehner and Mike Steele, and officials from DNR, the Chelan County Public Utility District, and multiple county fire districts.

If the plan is agreed upon and funding can be secured, the county hopes to have the containers purchased, filled and in place by the start of next year’s wildfire season.

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