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Opinion >  Column

100 years ago in Spokane: Some ‘exceptionally dry summers’ had officials looking to stop forest fires

UPDATED: Tue., Nov. 17, 2020

 (Spokane Daily Chronicle archives )
(Spokane Daily Chronicle archives )
By Jim Kershner The Spokesman-Review

The Western Forestry and Conservation Association was meeting in Spokane to formulate plans to save the Northwest forests from wildfire.

“For the last three years, we have had exceptionally dry summers in the timber belts and it is for this reason that we are planning a most constructive safeguard program,” said C.H. Fancher of the Flewelling & Fancher Timber Co.

They planned on using two kinds modern technology to protect both the “old standing timber” and the “growing timber.” They intended to institute airplane patrols and “wireless telephones” in remote timber areas.

From the political beat: U.S. Senator Miles Poindexter was home in his Spokane office, and he told reporters what he thought should be the priorities of the incoming Warren G. Harding administration.

First, repealing the war legislation and returning the country to normalcy. He wanted to bring the American army home from Europe. Poindexter also wanted to end the country’s “excursion into the realm of foreign diplomacy and idealistic schemes” – meaning the League of Nations – and return to matters of domestic development.

His domestic priorities included a program of reclamation – specifically, the Columbia Basin irrigation project – and increased road-building.

He also had an eye to the north.

“Alaska is a territory of enormous resources, the development of which has hardly started,” Poindexter said.

He said the “opening up of that territory” was of greatest importance, “not only to Alaska herself, but to the state of Washington and the entire nation.”

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