Contractors Stop Blaze From Spreading

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Rim Country residents had a close call with another wildfire Friday.

Fortunately, a small fire on the golf course of the Rim Club that could have been a large blaze turned into nothing more than a hero's tale for that night's dinner conversation.

The fire was spotted by contractors working in the area, one of whom is also a trained Hotshot from California. They helped contain the fire until crews arrived.

Payson Fire Chief Marty deMasi said he appreciates what they did, but warns that not everyone should try to be a hero in the same situation.

He said there are a lot of times where people should proceed with caution because they do not have the expertise or equipment to fight a fire.

DeMasi said the best thing residents can do is to report the fire immediately to the proper agency.

Payson Fire Captain Toby Waugh said the contractors from RFM Homes did a great job in controlling the fire until fire crews showed up.

One of the contractors, Don Clark, said the fire started on the greens and spread up a nearby hill.

"We started seeing smoke and smelling a fire so we grabbed our shovels and dug a line around it," Clark said. The contractor who was a Hotshot from California coordinated the effort.

Waugh said the fire consumed about one-eighth of an acre, which, he said, would have been much larger if the contractors had not done such a good job.

"It could have affected everything," he said, adding the fire was in a swirl pattern.

Waugh said the cause of the fire was still under investigation.

The Payson and Diamond Star fire departments and the U.S. Forest Service responded to the fire.

Waugh pointed to a firebreak at the location, and said work like it will save Payson and the surrounding community.

The Payson fire captain said the fire took less than five minutes to extinguish and credited the contractors once again.

He said besides forming a fire line, the contractors threw dirt on the blaze, which helped bring the fire under control.

Waugh said most of the work the fire departments and forest service had to do was mopping up to make sure the fire was completely out.

The 30 people fighting the fire applied foam to the smoldering parts of the fire until the ground became cold.

Waugh said he credits all fire crews as well as the U.S. Forest Service in combining resources to fight fires like the one on the golf course.

"We don't want (fire) here," Waugh said. "They don't want (fire) here, and that is why we work together."

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