What's Up?

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Q: What's up with the Pack Rat Fire? They just let it set there and burn for a week before calling in the big guys. It seems extremely irresponsible of the person who made the decision to let it burn.

A: First of all, the Pack Rat Fire started in the Coconino National Forest, according to Gary Roberts, fire prevention officer for the Payson Ranger District of the Tonto National Forest.

"I'm not saying we would have handled it any differently, but it wasn't our call," Roberts said.

Next, there was 40 percent relative humidity when the fire started in a very rugged, inaccessible and sparsely populated area. Suddenly the humidity dropped into single digits and a log rolled out and a fire that was pretty much contained was out of control.

Roberts reminds people that forest fires are, by nature, very unpredictable.

"If we knew how each one was going to go, that would be great," he said. "Unfortunately we don't and we never will."

Q: When is the town going to put a signal light on the corner of Airport Road and Highway 87?

A: Never, but the Arizona Department of Transportation is looking into the possibility.

"It's an ADOT intersection, so it's their call," LaRon Garrett, Payson public works engineer, said. "Sometime between Aug. 1 and Oct. 1, ADOT will do a traffic count there to determine if that signal is warranted. After Oct. 1, we'll see how the numbers came out," Garrett said.

Call 474-5251, ext. 147, to reach Roundup's What's Up? line. Leave your question on the answering machine and we'll try to find the answer.

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