Town Will Spend $50,000 On Fuel Break

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The Payson town council approved $50,000 for a fuel break on the town's southern and western boundaries at its regular meeting Thursday evening.

"It will be 100 yards wide and about 350 acres," Fire Chief Marty deMasi said. "We think it's going to cost somewhere in the area of $500 to $600 an acre, depending on the particular area, so it's going to take more than $50,000."

DeMasi said the Forest Service is also working on funding part of the project and the Tonto Apache Tribe may also contribute to the portion that is near the reservation boundary. He also indicated that a source of private contributions is also a possibility.

"There's definite interest in helping us with that, so we could do the whole thing this year if we get town money, federal money, tribe money and private money," he said.

But deMasi cautioned that this fuel break alone will not make the town immune to fire danger.

"It is a component of a system," he said. "It will help, but it is important that the private property owners within the town of Payson do their part to prepare their properties, and that the Forest Service as well do their work out farther away from town."

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