Fire Safety Project Nearing Completion

PINE-STRAWBERRY

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Stage one of the Fuel Break Project is about completed. The crew quickly chain-sawed its way around Pine and Strawberry. Along each edge of this fuel break should be a nice walking path. Remember, this fuel break is designed to bring a crown fire down to the ground so the firefighters can attack it. But also, it is a location from which firefighters can make a stand against a fire coming into our communities. It is not meant to be a space that is cleaned to the bare earth.

I received a note from a reader regarding the auto accident recently in which a Strawberry man was killed. The reader said that all of us need to be aware of our ability to handle a vehicle safely as we get older. Unfortunately, we all do get older and up here we are in the majority. While at an RV event in California last week, I took a very good and extensive safe driving course. The last page of the class booklet dealt with knowing when to quit. Hanging up the keys is one of the most difficult decisions we all have to face.

Some of the questions to ask yourself were listed:

  • Have you been having small fender-benders?
  • Have you been making errors in judgment?
  • Do you lose patience in situations that are out of your control?
  • Do those who have traveled with you for some time seem to display more fear than normal?

There have been way too many fatal accidents on highway 87 between north of Strawberry and Payson in the few years I have lived here. The road is narrow and there is no shoulder. The road often drops off right at the white line.

Accidents happen because drivers over correct in order to get back on the road. The driving course addressed this hazard: To immediately regain control of the car, stay in the ditch area and slow down gradually. When you are back in control, move the car slowly back onto the road. The same solution applies to a sudden blown tire. The advice offered from the course actually said to accelerate forward to compensate for the side pull of the blown tire. Continue moving forward and gradually slow the vehicle.

The difficulty, naturally, is being able to do the right thing in an emergency situation. That takes complete attention and keeping a firm grip on the steering wheel.

The highway department has discussed widening Highway 87 in an effort to make it safer. Most of us who live up here do not want a high speed roadway running through our communities. We love our ruralness.

Highway 260 from Highway 87 to Camp Verde has a 12 to 18 inch road level shoulder outside the white line. Why can't we have that on the highway connecting us to Payson? I bet it would save a lot of lives. Also, drivers need to be less in a hurry and more in control of their vehicles. End of soapbox speech.

The Pine Library's used book sale is from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturday, April 8, in the library activity room at the rear of the Pine Community Center.

OneBOOKArizona will discuss the book, "An Unfinished Life" by Mark Spragg at 10 a.m., Wednesday, April 26. Get your copy at the library today.

"Shining A Light in Pine," A Celebration of Dyslexic Artists, will be in Pine from May 11 through May 21. Stop by Myra's Gallery for more information.

Please provide information for this column regarding upcoming events, activities and items of interest for residents and visitors of Pine and Strawberry. Call or fax (928) 476-2239 or e-mail cpwrather@earthlink.net.

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