Firefighters Volunteer To Prevent Fires

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The Rim country is blessed with very dedicated firefighters.

Members of the firefighters' union are volunteering during their off-duty time to help residents reduce potential fire fuels around their homes.

The union, Northern Gila County Firefighters Association Local 4135, was organized just over a year ago and has about 20 members, according to its president, Sam Mays.

He said the group had started its Fuels Reduction Program shortly after organizing, but the fire season started and the business of fighting blazes kept them from the volunteer effort.

Now that the wildland fire season is over, the members of Local 4135 are able to resume the Fuels Reduction Program.

The program involves helping the elderly and handicapped clear their property of leaves and needles and haul off the debris. The group will also pick up bagged fire fuel debris from other residents who have done their own fire fuel reduction.

All that is necessary is a call to 472-6506, leave your name, number and address, and someone will get back to you. It might take a week or so before the firefighters can get to you because the work must be scheduled during their time off, Mays said.

Bigger jobs, needing more man power, will take longer to schedule, he said.

"Generally, four or five firefighters participate in a fuel reduction project," Mays said.

The work is free, but those served may make a donation to the Payson Fire Department's rehab group. This group is like an auxiliary providing support to the firefighters.

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