When we think of a hot time in town, we usually think of dining and dancing or an evening with friends. However, this time of year, a hot time in town is a major concern to the residents of Payson and surrounding communities.
As the weather heats up and the winds begin to blow, the vegetation dries out and the concerns of a hot time in town turns to worry about wildfires.
Thursday, June 14, the Payson Ranger District of the Tonto National Forest posted as "extreme" fire danger and the Payson Fire Department followed suit. Recently several red flag days were posted throughout the Rim country, which revoked outstanding burn permits and discontinued the issuance of new permits.
A major concern to firefighters is a wildfire in the wildland/urban interface an area where homes and other structures are built and/or occupied in the forested areas of the surrounding country. Traditionally, municipal firefighters fought fire mainly in buildings and forest service firefighters fought wildland fires. Today all firefighters need to be knowledgeable and capable of fighting fire in both venues.
The Payson Fire Department has been inundated with numerous grass and weedy lot complaints from concerned citizens and neighbors. We are inspecting the various sites as time permits. We encourage you to discuss the possible hazard with the property owners first.
The Payson Fire Department has ceased issuing open burn permits until further notice, as well as restricting campfires to established burn rings like those found in organized campgrounds. Please check with your local fire department for restrictions on burning in those areas.