The Elk Ridge subdivision is the first community in Payson to receive Firewise Communities/USA recognition from the National Firewise Communities Program. Morris Brown and Roger Freeman, far left, along with members of the Elk Ridge Community, receive the National Firewise USA recognition award from Payson Fire Chief Martin deMasi, far right, and Cliff Pearlberg from the Arizona State Land Department, second on the right.
The Elk Ridge community is the third community in Gila County and the twelfth community statewide to receive Firewise Communities/USA recognition. Payson Fire Chief Martin deMasi, along with Cliff Pearlberg and Lee Ann Beery from the Arizona State Land Department, presented the award to the Elk Ridge Firewise Board on the morning of Wednesday, Dec. 13. The Elk Ridge Property Owners Association have been actively educating and working towards fuel reduction within their community since 2001. Their community holds annual "dumpster days" in the spring where residents can clear brush and vegetation from their properties. In May 2006, personnel from the Forestry Division of the Arizona State Land Department, the Payson Fire Department and representatives from the Elk Ridge Firewise Board completed a community wildfire hazard assessment. Residents then developed a community-based management plan and set goals for continuing wildfire mitigation tailored to their needs. For more information on Firewise principles or how your community can receive Firewise Communities/USA recognition, visit www.firewise.org or www.paysonfire.com.