A very informative workshop on bark beetle and wildfires was held last Friday at the Christopher/Kohl's fire station, with about 30 local residents in attendance.
Chris Jones, with the UA Extension, described the bark beetle problem in great depth. In the Tonto National Forest, it is estimated that 100,000 acres are currently affected, with many more to be affected this summer.
Because of the drought, watering should be done the right way -- use a soaker hose around the drip line of the tree (not sprinklers -- they waste most of the water). Run the soaker until moisture reaches 2-3 feet into the soil (usually a few hours), and only water a tree once every 4 to 6 weeks.
Some homeowners will be using sprayers here in Christopher Creek. Be sure that you use a reputable service. The only effective method involves spraying the entire trunk, top to bottom, with an approved insecticide every spring.
Some people may try selling an injection of insecticide directly into the tree -- this will not kill the bark beetle, so do not believe the sales pitch.
Ed Armenta, forest ranger for Payson, talked about Forest Service projects. In the five-year plan for the district, the Christopher Creek area was unfortunately ranked last, with thinning and other projects scheduled for 2003-2004. The East Verde area is now getting treatments to reduce fire risk, and the next priorities are Payson, then Pine/Strawberry.
Sarah Nelson and Chuck Jacobs from the Regional Payson Area Planning Program (RPAP) reviewed their efforts, which include operating the free brush pit at Milepost 265 on Saturdays and making a truck available to homeowners' groups for brush pick-up.
Also, RPAP can receive matching grants to support their local efforts based on any time that residents spend on improving their own land for forest health and fire safety. They can get $5 per hour that is recorded and submitted to them. Christopher/Kohl's Fire Chief, Kent Courtney has the timesheets, and additional information. 478-4011.
Christopher Creek has lost another longtime resident this past week. Betty Palmquest died after a short stay in the hospital.
She lived a good life and loved being in Christopher Creek. She had lived in this community for about 30 years. She will be truly missed and our thoughts and prayers are with her family.
Betty was very well known and liked here in the community. You could see her riding around in her golf cart just about everywhere.
She had slowed down some in the past few years and you would see her daughter Cheryl driving her around with friends like Mimi Tidwell and Doris Berg. They would head up through C-Canyon and all around the Creek and visit with everyone. She attended all the functions and never missed a Flatlanders Party or a good potluck. She was famous for her rice pudding --o one made it quite like Betty.
Betty used to be a pretty good pool player too, but it's been several years since we played a game together. She used to come into the Landmark on Sundays and play in the tournaments, and I'll have you know she beat me and won a few of those tournaments.