Fairgrounds considered for fire evacuee's use
September 17, 2020
The Wahkiakum County Fairgrounds in Skamokawa may be called into service to house persons and animals displaced by regional wildfires.
Commissioner Gene Strong brought the idea to the board of commissioners Tuesday, saying people evacuating from advancing wildfires could benefit from using fairgrounds facilities.
There are spots for trailers and camping, there are barns and pens for animals, and there are water and other facilities, he said.
"Having it available would be a good use of the grounds," he said.
Commissioners Mike Backman and Dan Cothren agreed.
Strong said he would meet with Prosecuting Attorney Dan Bigelow and Emergency Management Director Beau Renfro to work on details.
Joe Blalock, president of the county fair board of directors, commented that the county would need to support fair personnel who might be called on to supervise the grounds, and he urged officials to communicate development and policies with fair personnel.
"We need to have procedures in place in case someone contacts us," he said.
Backman suggested the fairgrounds be used as an overflow area from another county, and that some space be reserved in case Wahkiakum County residents might need a place to move animals away from a fire.
Cothren said he liked the idea that the fairgrounds would be used as an overflow from other areas.
"I think we should be there to help," he said.
Treasurer Tammy Peterson suggested the county might be reimbursed any costs by state or federal emergency management organizations.
"Yes, I think there could be a reimbursement," Strong said.
Yes, especially if there is a declaration of an emergency," added Undersheriff Gary Howell.