The community of senior citizens at Trilogy at Redmond Ridge continue to pull together twice a month to keep their community safe and forests healthy.
Residents at the 55-plus community formed a seven-person committee to coordinate efforts to maintain their 500 acres of forestland following a 2006 windstorm that toppled trees onto houses. Since then, they continue to conduct community-based cleanups regularly.
The most recent activity occurred on April 22 when the King Conservation District, a branch of the state conservation districts, assisted Trilogy with a cleanup of some 700 feet of forestland buffer running along the community. The cleanup involved removing dead trees, fallen timber and removing invasive species and replacing them with native species.
During the most recent cleanup, around 250 native plants were purchased from the conservation district and planted.
John Weber sits on the committee at Trilogy and said a wildfire hitting the community is always a concern each year with houses so close to each other and the surrounding forest and greenbelts.
“It’s a constant threat, especially in the late summer, that we have to be concerned about,” he said.
Trilogy also works with the King County Department of Natural Resources and Parks to coordinate their efforts.
The community was also recognized by the National Fire Protection Association both last year and this year as a Firewise Community for its work to reduce fire risks.
Weber said that generally around 20 residents show up for each cleanup, which generally last around four hours.
Cleanups are conducted by volunteers who donate an estimated $50,000 in labor each year, Weber said, an expense they save over hiring a contractor to perform the work.
Depending on the weather, cleanups begin in the spring and stretch through October or September.
Not all the activities and cleanups the community undertakes relate to fire protection, some are related to forest maintenance, which Trilogy is responsible for.
Weber said the average age of the residents in the community is in the 70s and many of the volunteers are 75 or older.
“It’s a great way to spend your retirement years,” he said. “I think it says a lot about the type of people that live here.”
Volunteering is also a good way to meet friends and stay active, Weber said.
The community tackled another project on May 6 as part of a national wildfire preparedness day. Work again included removing dead trees and dry brush on the grounds.
According to a press release, Trilogy had previously applied for one of the $500 Wildfire Community Preparedness Day grants provided by State Farm and the National Fire Protection Agency, and was the only community in King County and one of nine in the state of Washington to be awarded one of the grants. The money was used to rent a dumpster — to transport the debris for wood recycling — and other costs of the May 6 Firewise event.
Some 1,300 communities across the country are situated on land at risk of wildfire, according to the Fire Protection Association, and brush fires are becoming more common on the western side of the Washington Cascades.
“We would like to encourage more communities around the area to do what we are doing,” Weber said.