Sunflower Fire

Comments

Barbara Rasmussen 2 years, 5 months ago

I was told that the base camp for the Sunflower Fire is down at the Ft. McDowell Reservation. I would like to know why? One would think that it would be located here in Payson since we are so close to the fire. And although it is a very sad fact but the people who come into areas to fight these horrific wildland blazes do impact our local economy. With food services, hotels/motels and other needs of the firefighters themselves. i know in previous years during fires one could see them in large groups in our local restaurants, grocery stores and gas stations.

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Pat Randall 2 years, 5 months ago

Barbara, I have seen two of thier helicopters come into our airport. One yesterday and one today.

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Rex Hinshaw 2 years, 5 months ago

Barbara, I would like to know why you question where they have set their base camp? Do you want Payson to make a profit from this....shame on you. I live in Deer Creek,15 miles closer to the fire...I want them to fight it in the most effective way possible. All I see from you is selfishness with that statement. You can tell me how I'm wrong if you like.

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Barbara Rasmussen 2 years, 5 months ago

Rex: you are 100% wrong. I also want them to fight the fire as effectively as possible. However when people who are involved in the daily briefings have to get up at 4 a.m. and drive to the valley and then back to Payson it just seems a bit ridiculous. Having 3 family members who are employed in the Fire Service (2 here in Payson) all of them have been involved in fighting Wildland Fires. My husband was on the Rodeo-Chediski and Willow Fire and was gone for many days from home so do not even suggest that I am selfish. You are way off base with your comments. When they have to get up early in the morning go to briefing miles away from where they have to drive back too and after working under some of the most horrendous conditions known do it all the next day? Does this seem effective?

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Pat Randall 2 years, 5 months ago

Why can't they have thier briefings at the Sunflower Towing Service area? There is lots of room to park and land helicopters if needed. Jakes Corner or the rest stop on the highway where 188 and 87 come together. It is closed so no tourist would bother them.

I remember when they didn't have briefings. The fire fighters went into the forest stayed until the fires were out. They ate k-rations and slept on the ground. Ranchers were required to fight fires and I don't think they were paid.

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Barbara Rasmussen 2 years, 5 months ago

I thought about the Event Center also as a briefing area but the rodeo was coming up so that would not work. The helicopters being used to fight the fire do have their bases at our airport. A large area is needed especially with all of the apparatus and man power being utilized in the firefight. But for the Gladiator Fire near Crown King they use the Mayer High School only a few miles away. Willow Fire was out near Doll Baby and Rodeo Chedeski Fire the base was right outside Heber/Overgaard. The Wallow Fire was near Alpine. I just do not understand the logisitics of having it so far away from the fire.

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Tom Garrett 2 years, 5 months ago

Well! Well!

At last! A subject about which I know absolutely nothing.

And having said that, I'll just say that I hope all goes well, no one gets hurt, and that fire is out as soon as possible.

And thanks for your comments.

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Tom Garrett 2 years, 5 months ago

Aha!

I do know something!

I know that the Roundup just put up a great report on the fire (not the one in yesterday's paper).

Here's the link:

http://www.paysonroundup.com/news/2012/may/16/sunflower-fire-grows-12000-acres/?print

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Kim Chittick 2 years, 5 months ago

Sorry, Rex...I am in total agreement with Barbara; if what she says is accurate. It makes ZERO sense to me for the base of operations to be at Fort McDowell. It is too far away and, again, makes for a much longer drive for Payson personnel to have to drive all the way to Fort McDowell for briefings, and then back up the hill. As for the economic impact, I could not care less about that. What I do care about is the physical and emotional impact of personnel having to do with less sleep and down time in order to drive more miles than are necessary. That being said: I ask that you all pray to God, or whichever Supreme Being you believe in, for quick and safe containment of this fire, for safety and no losses for the firefighters working so hard to protect us and our way of life, and for God's blessings on us all.

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Rex Hinshaw 2 years, 5 months ago

Barbara, I did misunderstand your statement and I apologise for my selfishness comment.

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John Lemon 2 years, 5 months ago

Just a few thoughts on the location of the Fire Camp at Ft. McDowell. I, too, thought it a bit odd to see all of the stuff at the Fort. Then I re-thought it. 400 plus firefighter's tents. Numerous trucks and other equipment. Portable kitchens, portable showers and sanitary facilities. Generators and lights sinces they operate on a 24 hour basis. Vehicle service facilities including gasoline storage. All of that adds to a great deal of space, noise, dust, etc. Really I can not imagine where they would host all of it in Payson.

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Kim Chittick 2 years, 5 months ago

Something else I was just thinking about...why could they not set up their Operations Base at our Airport? Their helicopters and water sucker uppers (?) are coming in and out daily. There is plenty of room up there for the trailers and tents and catering set ups.
Furthermore, the Aero Fair has been cancelled due to the air services portion of the firefighting being based there. Just a thought.

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Barbara Rasmussen 2 years, 5 months ago

I wondered about the airport myself. There is the campground area there and in fact the Helitack team is using that area rt now. Perhaps with the large amount of apparatus coming and going it might be a traffic/safety issue? I just think that there are areas around Payson that could have been used. I wonder why they didn't set up at the Ranger Station on 260? The HS football field and dome. I don't believe that there are any sports right now using those areas. Many other areas around Payson. Oh well we may never know the reason why they chose to have it at Ft. McDowell.

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Pat Randall 2 years, 5 months ago

John, Are there 400 tents set up? Do they all come in at night and go to bed? Don't some stay on the fire line during the night? What are the briefings about if no one has been on the fire line? I have seen the Hot Shot trucks at motels over the last 15 yrs or so and eating in the restaurants using FS credit cards.

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John Lemon 2 years, 5 months ago

Pat, There are now over 500 firefighters working the Sunflower fire. It has been reported that the crews work 12 hour shifts. I do not know how many are on days or nights. I do not know how many sleeping tents there may be; perhaps a few double-up. The briefings use materials gathered not only from people on the lines but also from aircraft observations. Hot Shot crews often move from this site to that site but these are usulally smaller units that have no camp facilities to use. To return to the main strand: I believe it would surprise some people were they to see the size of the main fire camp and all of the equipment there. If people did see the size, it might influence opinions as to where it could be housed.

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Kim Chittick 2 years, 5 months ago

I do know that there are businesses whose sole mission is setting up fire camps. They bring in trailers for catering and food services, trailers with showers and bathrooms, as well as large tents equipped with cots. I am fairly certain that each individual fire fighter does not bring his or her own tent and sleeping bag. They have enough to haul with them with regards to all of their personal firefighting and safety equipment. You are correct John, in that it does require a very large plot of land to set up a fire camp; however, I am still of the mind that there has to have been a suitable place closer than Fort McDowell.

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Tom Garrett 2 years, 5 months ago

"I did misunderstand your statement and I apologise for my selfishness comment."

A great hearted comment.

"Rex: Your apology is accepted."

And another of the same!

I won't comment on the set up or location of the fire camp because, as I have already said, I would be talking about something I know nothing about.

But I would like to point out two things which have gotten me thinking:

One, is how much me owe the Forest Service for being so much on the ball. They respond to fires in a way that they have every right to be proud of. I, for one, am glad that they are so good at what they do.

The other one is this: Right now, while this fire is burning, and we are all looking up and seeing orange-gray skies, watching ashes land on our houses, and considering the possibility of what would happen if that fire down there were not being fought tooth and nail, right now I would like you all to think about a comment that I have read over and over again, and have disagreed with every time I read it, namely that fires should be allowed to burn so that they will clear out the "under-story" and leave an open forest that is safe from major fires. Right now, right now while the fire is burning, do you want the firefighters to hang up their shovels and hoses and go home?

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Kim Chittick 2 years, 5 months ago

Not a chance Tom!! On Tuesday, when the wind shifted and the sky looked apocolyptic and it was raining ash, I was doing some serious praying. Praying for quick containment, and for the safety of our firefighters. Our Forest Service, all of the Hot Shot crews, and every fire fighter who has been called to fight this fire, deserves our thanks and our prayers. They have mine!

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Barbara Rasmussen 2 years, 5 months ago

I disagree with the "Let It Burn" concept also. If they did just let them burn there would be no open forest. Just a bunch of blackened snags with a lot of grasses and oak sprouting. Dreiving through a fire area years later is still sad to me. However we do need more controlled burnouts of forest floor fuels and ladder fuels. When you see the large pines and other trees "torching" it is because of ladder fuels that allowed the fire to get to the tops of these trees. Our forests are in trouble and do need to be thinned.

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Pat Randall 2 years, 5 months ago

Should have been done 60 yrs ago with cattle and the lumber industry. The forest were beautiful back then. But someone wanted the cattle and timber people off. Now they are paying for it big time, in more ways than one.

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Rex Hinshaw 2 years, 5 months ago

Thank you,thank you,thank you Pat ! The someone that wanted cattle and timber people off was....the Federal government , pushed by the enviromentalists Nazi's. The Sierra Club and the Center for Biological Diversity have so much money that the forest service has been held hostige by them through their law suites. We need to be responsible....we need to conserve....we need to protect...but we don't need some liberal socialist to tell us how to do it ! The only way we can do this is to defete Obama.

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Tom Garrett 2 years, 5 months ago

I can't say it better than you folks did. And I could not agree more.

I'll only add that the idea that putting out fires is the "cause" of a forest with trees growing close together is the direct opposite of the scientific truth taught in ecology and forest management courses.

That idea originated with lawyers who were looking for plausible reason for ending the dual use of the forests; look up the cases. Their arguments for allowing fires to run wild are not based on fact, but on courtrooms ploys. The fact is that if an area of forest in the west or southwest somehow manages to reach maturity without a major fire (for pines that would be in the neighborhood of 200+ years), then the large trees remaining have shaded out the rest (pines do not grow in the shade; even a shaded limb is shed). The forest looks like a park from below, but if you turn your head and look up you'll see that the crowns of the trees are contiguous except in broken areas. So in essence there is no more room for growth.

Fly over a mature forest and see for yourself. Unless the terrain is broken the forest below looks like one continuous carpet. However, it is very rare for any forest in the west or southwest to reach the fully mature stage except in patches. It is too dry here. Lightning strikes and a naturally dry climate make it very unlikely. This is good science, not courtroom arguments.

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Pat Randall 2 years, 5 months ago

The forests and FS was out of control before Obama was ever born, where ever that was.

Tom, your scientific truth taught in ecology and forest management courses were wrong. Look around you!

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Pat Randall 2 years, 5 months ago

Kimmer and Barbara, There are some helicopters at our airport along with a hot shot crew a mobile home and some other equipment. I don't know why they don't use water from Roosevelt Lake. It is probably the nearest large body of water. But what do we women know? (:

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Barbara Rasmussen 2 years, 5 months ago

Pat: The trailer that is there is part of the Wildland Firefighters that set up their base camp every year during our Willand Fire Season. That is if you are talking about the one at the far end of the airport. I know that they are filling from water bladders at a "filling station" set up at Punkin Center. Payson has their Super Tanker located down there and also others. They may be drawing from Roosevelt although Sunday when I went to the valley I saw the big orange helicopter flying from Ft. McDowell rodeo grounds. Not sure if it was filling from there though at that time. It is now stationed here at the airport with the support staff. During the Willow Fire the helicopters were filling up at GVP. Pretty impressive sight to see.

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Dan Haapala 2 years, 5 months ago

Having watched and witnessed a few fires over the years, I'm going to predict that this 'Sunflower' fire will not grow beyond 20000 acres unless the Forest service determines that more area needs to be treated. The big enemy here is the wind. The great help here is the previous Willow Fire which stands between it and Payson. This fire doesn't scare me, the next one scares me. It's going to be a long and dangerous fire season and I wish it wasn't going to be.

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Pat Randall 2 years, 5 months ago

Dan, What scares me is the people living in town limits that won't do anything about all the trees and brush growing right up to the eaves of thier homes. Drive slowly the length of McLane from Longhorn to Payson Pines and see a disaster waiting to happen. I was at a meetig a few years ago and heard a woman say well I've lived here 20 yrs. and my house hasn't burned, She wasn't cutting down any thing on her property. Well if her house or one within 1/2 mile of it catches on fire, it will be a sad day. The Payson fire dept is great, but when your property joins FS land there is a problem. The FS will stand and watch your house burn, they will only be there to make sure it doesn't spread to 'thier property'. Have seen it happen and it will again.

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Tom Garrett 2 years, 5 months ago

"Look around you!"

I did. That's why I know that putting out fires is not the cause of what we see around here.

"I don't know why they don't use water from Roosevelt Lake."

The water in Roosevelt Lake belongs to SRP.

Thanks for the info, Barb.

I agree, Dan. I'll be honest with you, if I had known about all this before I came up here I would have moved to Prescott instead. Would not have been my first choice, but there's a lot to be said about the knowing that your house, and all the memories in it, will be here tomorrow. It's called peace of mind.

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Pat Randall 2 years, 5 months ago

Tom, Yes the water in Roosevelt belongs to SRP. BUT water has been taken out of there before for forest fires. The land all around the lake belongs to the Forest service and they collect all fees for boats using the lake, the camp grounds and the launching ramps.
It is my understanding if they (FS) use so called private water they pay for it and have some kind of agreement before they need it. Prescott in no safer than Payson. They are surrounded by forest also.

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Barbara Rasmussen 2 years, 5 months ago

Does anyone else remember a few years back when the helicopter was drawing water to fight one of the blazes down by Roosevelt and the land owner shot at it? And yes they do pay the ranchers or anyone else for the water they draw off of their lands.

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Pat Randall 2 years, 5 months ago

Yes, Barbara I remember idiots.
I don't think he was ever prosecuted. Too bad. They had drawn water from there before with his permission. He has since moved out of Arizona. I'm sure his ancestors must be real proud. His great great grandfather settled that land in 1872.

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Tom Garrett 2 years, 5 months ago

Pat, my comment on Roosevelt Lake was a humorous poke at SRP for being so doggone worried about water it really has no God-given right to in the first place. It's ridiculous for them to believe that the federal government can say that the water that falls on my land isn't mine, that it belongs to Phoenix. That's a bit beyond the authority we gave the feds in the Constitution.

As to:

“Look around you!”

"I did. That's why I know that putting out fires is not the cause of what we see around here."

What you see when you look at the land around here is largely the result of fires or clear-cutting, which have the same effect. Any time the trees are cleared, either by man or by fire, the result is a lot of small trees growing close together. If you DO NOT put out fires, that's what you get. The environmentalist claim that putting out fires results in an open forest is 180° out. See?

Running cattle in a second growth forest works. It removes the grass and weeds that makes it more prone to fires. And the claim that cattle muddy the streams and cause erosion is ridiculous. That's pure word of mouth, without a single study ever made to prove it. Not one. What you saw as a youngster--open park-like forests--was the result of a hundred years of dual-use, with perhaps a few, rare places where the luck of the draw had not subjected the area to fire. Now that the cattle have been shooed out of the forest, the space between trees is once again filled with grass and weeds. The elk and deer can't keep up with it; they by and large do not eat grass. The result is a fire-prone forest. Get some timbering back in here, put the cattle back, and watch the change back to an open forest.

Environmentalists don't want that because they want the forest left alone to be just a "forest." And as with so many other things, they choose to ignore scientific facts to get what they want. I count myself as a conservationist, one of the people who came before today's odd minded environmentalists, who actually do more harm than good in many cases.

You have to think things through. Observe. Learn. What is true in one place is not true in others. For example, if I were back in Connecticut I would not have to listen to the "let it burn" nonsense. In Connecticut, there hasn't been a cow in the woods for three hundred years because everything was fenced off (rock walls) by the settlers, yet the woods are as tight with growth as can be. From the air the ground looks like a green carpet. No fire danger, though. All deciduous trees, mostly maples. They don't burn like the matchsticks that grow out here. Same rules apply though. Nature works its magic no matter how much we may fail to understand it.

"Does anyone else remember a few years back when the helicopter was drawing water to fight one of the blazes down by Roosevelt and the land owner shot at it?'

Nope. That's one I missed. (I don't mean the helicopter.) :-)

I wonder why they weren't paying him?

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Tom Garrett 2 years, 5 months ago

I feel I should come back here and say something lest you misunderstand me.

I am NOT anti-environmentalist. Yes, I know. I sure sounds like it at times, but that's only because I get lazy and fail to make myself clear.

Am I opposed the movement to protect the environment? Definitely not! We only have one planet. We had better protect it.

So where do I stand? Take, for example, global warming. Do I say that mankind has had no effect on it? Of course not! We produce waste products that obviously must have an effect. But are we the primary cause of the current trend toward a warmer planet? There is just no proof of that.

So should we do nothing? I don't think so. To use an analogy, suppose someone throws a punch at you. Does it help to lean into it? No. Or suppose your septic field is showing signs of being overwhelmed. Should you claim that you didn't have a part in creating that problem? Of course not!

Humankind is having an affect on global warming. The question is, How large is that effect? How much of it is part of some natural cycle, and how much of it is due to things we can control?

The truth is that we are not yet able to put numbers on the answers. We can make educated guesses, but we cannot say with absolute certainty how is much due to what. The data show that MOST of the current warming in related to slight changes in the Sun's output; that can he shown by well documented science. But there MUST be some effect from what we are doing.

And so ...?

And so we would be smart to reduce our effect on global warming as much as we can, short of damaging the planet in other ways. We can take the same wise path that we took in reducing lead in the environment when we got rid of leaded gasoline. We can regulate ourselves to ensure that we are headed in the right direction.

But...?

Letting politicians use us is not wise. When someone like Al Gore--a nice enough guy, and in general an honest man--starts talking about "carbon footprints" while he is flying a private jet around the nation to make speeches, and is putting more CO2 into the atmosphere in one trip than most of us create in ten lifetimes, we have to question his motives. And when people keep repeating false science we have to educate ourselves to recognize it.

There is no substitute for education. If you want to know if some often-espoused point of view is correct (like the "let it burn" idea), get on the internet, do your homework, take the time to check the facts, and let your voice be heard.

But don't become "anti-enviromentalist." Become anti-bull--it. From either side of the issue.

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Pat Randall 2 years, 5 months ago

Tom, There is still leaded gasoline being used. Don't you look at the gas pump when you buy gas? There is one button that says unleaded on it. What does that mean when the other two don't say unleaded? The unleaded is the cheaper one.

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Tom Garrett 2 years, 5 months ago

Pat, The "unleaded" pump has lower octane rating gasoline, that's all. There is no lead in gasoline today. It poisons the air and gets into food.

So it's now safe to pick dandelion greens along the road and eat them, or to fish under a road bridge. It wasn't a few years back. People got very sick doing it; some may even have died.

And when people who grew up since we got the lead out of the air get flu they won't have the aches in their joints that you and I, and so many other people, experience. The joint ache is not due to the flu. When you get flu, or a flu-like disease (even a cold) your body pH drops, making your blood more acid. Because of that, you dissolve lead out of your bones, where has been stored over the years because of leaded gasoline, and that makes your joints ache. People who have never lived in a developed country do not have lead in their bones (unless they just by accident happen to live in a place where it somehow got into the environment naturally), so they don't have that problem.

By the way. Want to know when you are going to get a cold tomorrow so that you can start treating it early? Take your pH every day. Just use a bit of cheap p-hydrion paper. If your pH drops today, tomorrow you'll have a cold--or something worse perhaps, I hope not.

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