Cathlamet to host public forum on emergency response systems


September 14, 2023

In response to public concern, the Town of Cathlamet will host a public forum at which members of the community will be briefed on existing emergency strategies in the event of wildfires and other potential events.

“Due to Cathlamet’s hemmed in location, it is not a surprise that citizens want more information now,” said Mayor David Olson in a prepared statement that was shared with The Eagle.

Citing recent major fires in Paradise, CA, and on the Hawaiian island of Maui, the mayor expressed the need to inform residents of Cathlamet of evacuation strategies in the event of a “catastrophic incident.”

“Cathlamet is the only densely populated urban area in Wahkiakum County, surrounded by river on one side, and forested land on the others, with a single major highway in and out,” he said. “As a town with primarily wooden buildings in the core residential and business area, our community would be particularly susceptible to catastrophic fire.”

The briefing will seek to inform the public about how emergency alerts are given if electronic communications malfunction, and recommended evacuation routes.

“We have been reminded of our vulnerable situation in recent weeks,” said Mayor Olson, referring to the Broken Gate Fire near Westport, Ore. That fire was visible from Cathlamet and burned and smoked for a week in late July.

Cathlamet Fire Chief Vernon Barton, Sheriff Mark Howie, and Public Utilities General Manager Dan Kay will coordinate a presentation and discussion at the top of the regular Town Council agenda.

The briefing and public forum will take place at 6pm, Monday September 18th at DeBriae Meeting Room, 255 2nd Street. For more information, contact Mayor David Olson at or (360) 218-9956.


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