U.S. Rep. Rick Renzi (AZ-01) has announced that he recently secured $100,000 from the U.S. Forest Service to help combat forest fires.
The money will be used to thin forests and expand fire breaks in Payson and Star Valley and complete the one around East Verde Park, significantly helping to suppress fires before they endanger any homes or businesses.
"Forest thinning and well-placed fire breaks, as well as the courageous action of rural Arizona's first responders, will go a long way toward protecting rural Arizona from the dangers of forest fires," said Renzi.
"We must continue to be aggressive in not only responding to fires as they start, but securing funds for more fire breaks and forest thinning projects in our community."
Renzi said that fuel breaks help slow and even stop the spread of wildfires because they provide fewer fuels to carry the flames. The breaks also provide firefighters with safe zones to take a stand against a wildfire, or retreat from flames if the need arises.
"I am thrilled about Congressman Renzi's announcement of an additional $100,000 in fuels reduction money he has located that is to be spent on the Payson Ranger District in 2006 for help on our community firebreaks," said Tommie Martin, First District Supervisor in Gila County. "I look forward to continuing to work closely with Congressman Renzi to meet the serious needs of reducing the fire threat and restoring health to the Tonto Forest," she concluded.
Martin said the Forest Service already has the money to start the work. She said it is her understanding the East Verde Park area will be the first target of the work, followed by Payson and Star Valley.
In addition to the money for the Rim Country,Renzi announced three emergency fire grants from FEMA to help Flagstaff, Sedona and other communities affected by the recent fires in Arizona.