The dark smoke cloud rising beneath the Rim is a good wake-up call.
This time the communities are somewhat protected by previously burned out areas on each side of this fire, meaning that fuels were limited. We know it is going to be a frightening season. Naming this the February Fire only accentuates the fact that the fire season is beginning much too early.
There has been concern that one of the sirens in Strawberry is not working. Efforts are underway to get it working, but I just talked with the Pine Strawberry Fire Department and they assure me that if fire is threatening and your attention is needed, you will hear sirens. Trucks will be traveling around alerting those who need alerting.
If you hear a siren, immediately turn your radio to 1420 AM, KMOG. They get direct reports from the sheriff's department and will read those reports over the air. I talked with KMOG yesterday and requested that when a fire is burning nearby, and we can see and smell smoke, they give us updates on the half hour, even if they do not have anything new to report. We who see the smoke are worrying and want to know something. We thank KMOG for this service. KRIM will also report any pertinent information regularly.
This early fire also reminds us of the need to clean our properties. Piles of pine needles and leaves can smolder and suddenly explode. Get rid of them. Cut away those low tree branches and remove branches close to your house. Then call the fire department, (928) 476-4272, for the free brush pick up service.
If you have weekend neighbors, call them and ask them to come up and see what we are doing and what needs to be done on their property. Saving our communities this year will take the efforts of each of us.
Also, we have learned that the February Fire was man-caused, by someone walking away from a smoldering campfire. How would you like to have that on your conscience? Be extra careful.
If you have not already done it, this is a good time to go around your home with a video camera or digital and take photos of your possessions. Then put the photos on a disk and get the disk out of your house. I did this a couple of years ago, but lost the photos. Not too helpful.
On a more optimistic note, Pine Creek Fudge and Ice Cream Shop is scheduled to open today in the Bishop Park complex in Pine. That is good news. Stop by and welcome them.
The Fiddlers Jam Session is at 1 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 15, in the Cultural Hall at the Pine Community Center. Do you suppose they will have some romantic music for Valentines Day?
Book Buddies 2006 is a story and craft time for children ages 3 to 5. Children should arrive at the library no later than 11:15 each Thursday. Each participant receives his or her own library card. Stop by the library for all the information.
Rumor has it that the Strawberry Festival might be moving to Pine. If you have an opinion about this, please contact me at the e-mail address below or call me. The festival inconveniences many, but it has been something fun in Strawberry.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.