Wildfire Safety Group Forming In Manchester

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MANCHESTER – A volunteer group addressing wildfire safety is being formed in the township, officials said.

This group would be made up of a mix of volunteers and professionals, but members would not be paid for their service, nor would they receive benefits, Councilman Sam Fusaro said.

The members would be working with the State Forest Fire Service “to make sure we’re doing everything we can to minimize the risk,” he said.

A few of the villages are already Firewise Communities, he said. This is a designation that the area’s residents have been educated on how to be proactive to minimize the chances of wildfires and the losses that can occur.

There have been several more recent forest fires in the surrounding areas, including one that started last year on the edge of Manchester and one starting in Beachwood in 2014, and Fusaro recalled a huge fire in 1995.

This one reportedly needed hundreds of firefighters to combat as it burned more than 15,000 acres. Evacuations and emergency shelters were needed.

“If the wind hadn’t changed direction, we probably would have lost half of Whiting.”