Douglas-Okanogan County Fire District 15 holds public open house

Kylee Vargas holds the attention of youngsters watching her as shows them her mask.

Hannah “Sparky” Friend, left, in costume as the District 15 mascot, and sister, Hayley, helped entertain visitors at the open house. Hannah is a District 15 fire volunteer.

Tankers, pumpers and engines line the open bays at the Douglas-Okanogan District 15 Fire Station at 108 Third Street near the corner of Third and Main in downtown Brewster during the station’s open house last Thursday evening.

Douglas-Okanogan County Fire District 15 logo
“A little town called Grass Valley,” Vargas said of her destination.

BREWSTER – The Douglas-Okanogan County Fire District 15 Fire Department rolled out its best equipment and pulled out all the stops for its public open house at 108 Third Street from 6 to 9 p.m. last Thursday, Oct. 19. Fire officials and volunteers also took the opportunity to give visitors a taste of what it’s like to be a fire volunteer in their community.
Fire hats and rides for the youngsters, treats, smoke and CO2 alarms were available along with fresh off the grill barbecued hot dogs and other refreshments.
Among the District 15 volunteers on hand to welcome visitors was Kylee Vargas who had only just returned from a 10-day assignment in California with the Department of Natural Resources (DNR). Vargas, who has been a District 15 volunteer for two years, recounted her experience in the aftermath of wildfire activity in north central California.
“A little town called Grass Valley,” Vargas said of her destination.
Grass Valley is a community of about 13,000 residents in the Sierra foothills of Nevada County and some 55 miles from Sacramento, the state capital.
“There’s nothing left there,” said Vargas, “It’s completely burned down; pretty sad.”
Vargas said her crew also included engine lead Charles Hammer of Twisp.
“We were doing a lot of mop-up because when we got there the fire had burned a week before, so we put out trees that were still torching,” said Vargas. “We worked behind the firefighters pretty much and cleaned up all the hot spots.”
Vargas, a 2016 graduate of Brewster High School, is in her first year as a DNR employee, was one of thousands of firefighters who have helped with fire suppression work in the Golden State. Along with volunteering with the fire department since a senior in high school, Vargas also worked at her parents’ store, Brewster Marketplace, for about 10 months following graduation.
“I do plan on going to college to get a degree in forestry to help aid in my knowledge of wildfires and hope to continue in this career,” Vargas said.

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