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Roslyn approves contracts to fund emergency fire break

September 13, 2017 GMT

The Roslyn City Council approved four contracts Tuesday night to help fund a fire break north of town, which was constructed earlier this month.

Over Labor Day weekend, ember showers from the Jolly Mountain Fire were forecast to come down around Roslyn, which prompted an urgent need for a new fire break. A state of emergency declared by Mayor Brent Hals allowed the city to waive the competitive bidding process and purchase services, material and equipment necessary to address emergency situations.

The contracts were with Wyss Logging, Gibson and Sons Road Building, PAW LLC and C. Renfro and Sons.

The city and Roslyn Fire Department worked with private landowners to clear a 1 1/2 mile fire break with two emergency exit paths.

The council said the city of Roslyn worked closely with the Jolly Mountain Fire Incident Command Team on the effort, and was in constant communication.

Roslyn resident Angela McPhee asked the council why action was taken before seeing how the primary fire line held up. Roslyn Fire Chief Skye Osiadacz said ember showers can travel for miles, and models showed a much more elevated risk of the fire breaching the ridge and coming down toward the city.

“I personally think we made the right decision,” Council member Cordy Cooke said. “That was the situation we were in at that time. We had an opportunity to do something and we had people who could help us. That was the action that was taken.”

The state of emergencies declared at the local and state level allow funds to be freed up for projects like this, so Roslyn now has an important piece of fire infrastructure which can help protect it from fire in the future, city officials said.

Osiadacz said his fire department fought a small fire only 100 yards from the new fire break earlier this year, which was started by people who built a campfire in the woods.

Members of the council said concerns from citizens about funding are understandable, but when natural disasters happen in communities, those communities usually have to endure some of the costs.

“It’s the nature of all disasters,” council member Andy Januszkiewicz said. “Part of the cost is borne by the local community … the flooding in Houston, borne by the home owners and citizens of the town, as well as Irma coming through.”

CONTRACTS

The contract with Wyss Logging was to cut a 1 1/2 mile fire break with a fellerbuncher, skidder, processor and two lowboys, and payment was not to exceed $50,000.

The contract with PAW LLC was to rent a D-6 CAT Bulldozer to cut the fire break, and payment was not to exceed $6,500.

The contract with C. Renfro and Sons was to transport the bulldozer to and from the fire break site, and payment was not to exceed $4,300.

No payment or project scope information was available for the contract with Gibson and Sons Road Building.

State reimbursement funds may be available to the city for part of the work.