A tasty tribute | TheUnion.com

A tasty tribute

Six weeks ago, firefighters from Washington and their mates from the Bay Area stood shoulder to shoulder, fighting off flames that roared within a quarter-mile of the little town on the South Fork Yuba River.

On Saturday, together again, they stood their ground against blazing briquets that seared chicken quarters, dousing their plates with beans and shovelfuls of corn at the 41st Annual Chicken BBQ Fundraiser.

Unlike the tinder-dry vegatation that caught spark in June, Saturday’s salad had adequate humidity to resist these flames.

The dinner raised about $5,000 – half the volunteer fire department’s budget and the most important single source of income all year, volunteer Fire Chief Mike Stewart said.

“It was a lot of fun, very busy, lots of people,” Stewart said. “The firefighters from the Bay Area helped out with the cooking, and that was greatly appreciated.”

The Scotchman and Fall fires both came agonizingly close after starting in a dry lightning storm June 21, along with more than 2,000 other fires across California – creating the worst fire disaster in California history, state officcials have said.

The fires burn on, though firefighters contained the Fall Fire at 2,420 acres and the Scotchman Fire at 1,230 acres, according to Tahoe National Forest officials.

The event Saturday was put together by the Washington Fire Rescue Auxiliary, a nonprofit with 18 members who support the department’s nine volunteer firefighters – including by taking them homemade cookies when they’re on duty.

Approximately 350 people attended the dinner, Stewart said.

A necklace and earrings made from gold nuggets taken from the Yuba River were among the items raffled off, Stewart added.

“In the past (the auxiliary) has bought safety gear for firefighters, battery chargers for fire engines, personal protection equipment, clothing and uniforms,” he said.

To contact Soumitro Sen, e-mail ssen@theunion.com or call 477-4229.

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