What a difference a month makes. Our District received up to three feet of snow during the big snowstorm last week. We are told that it takes ten inches of snow to equal one inch of rain, so our forests have received over three inches of rain to bring an end to the longest dry spell on record.
Collaborative fire team
I spoke with county representatives this week and was told that District 1 Supervisor Tommie Martin has organized a weekly discussion group made up of people from local fire departments, law enforcement, state land managers, Gila County officials and the U.S. Forest Service to initiate a planned first response to wildfires that start up in our area.
The group efforts are part of the Community Fire Wise Project in hopes of modifying fire behavior with first strike water resources and to enlarge additional defensive space around our communities.
Whispering Pines Fire Chief Mark Essary, Engineer Van Herrick and Firefighter Joe Brown were invited to take part in the planning of this very worthwhile project.
More information will be provided by Gila County as plans are developed.
The first low water crossing into Geronimo Estates is scheduled for repair as soon as the snow melts and Webber Creek stops running.
The road will be closed from the intersection of the Control Road to the first crossing and all traffic will be routed west on the Control Road to Forest Service Road 1585 and through Elusive Acres on Elusive Drive to the intersection of Munsee Drive, which runs through Geronimo Estates.
Signs will be in place to direct those who are not familiar with this frequently used detour.
Bob Smolenski of Geronimo Estates will be one of the featured musicians in the Jazz Concert at the Presbyterian Church in Payson at 2 p.m. Sunday, March 26. The concert is free to the public and everyone is invited to attend. The Church is located at the end of Main Street near Green Valley Park.
Eileen Morris of Geronimo Estates is in the Payson Care Center. Please remember her in your thoughts and prayers.
A surprise birthday party was given at Pine Verde Mexican Restaurant in Pine for Glenda Schroeder (a member of our fire board) and Ron and Diane Baran (previous members of our fire department and former residents of Geronimo Estates).
Whispering Pines Fire Station 72 in Rim Trail has recently been fitted with electricity and heat for a fire apparatus.
Brush 721 has been positioned in that location for quick response to the Rim Trail and Washington Park area.
A group of Boy Scouts was evacuated from the camp last week during the big snowstorm. Gila County sent a blade in to clear the usually unplowed road for them to be able to get their convoy of vehicles back to the Valley, but they then had to stay in Payson because the road was closed to the Valley.
The U.S. Forest Service and Gila County have been doing a tremendous amount of work widening and resurfacing the Control Road. There are presently two Forest Service backhoes removing tree stumps from the edge of the road. Please be careful when driving the road, especially when rounding curves and cresting hills.
The ladies sewing group of our district is meeting at the East Verde Baptist Church in Whispering Pines on the first and third Wednesday of each month from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. We serve cookies, tea and coffee. Please bring your sewing machine and join us.
The next meeting of the Whispering Pines Fire Department Auxiliary will be at Pat Durham's home in Geronimo Estates at 1:30 p.m. Monday, April 10. Everyone is welcome to attend and join the auxiliary.
The first WPFD pancake breakfast for 2006 will be at Whispering Pines Fire Station 71 from 8 a.m. to 10 a.m. Saturday, April 8. Hope to see you there.
The Chase Creek Brush Pit will be open the second Saturday and Fourth Sunday of each month. The pit is located on Forest Service Road 32 (road to Rim Trail) and will be open from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Sunday, March 26 (weather permitting).
Phil Schroeder of Geronimo Estates has volunteered to "pit sit" for another year. Please, only brush and cut up trees. No stumps, construction materials, household garbage or plastic bags.
The next Whispering Pines Fire Board meeting is scheduled for 6 p.m. Wednesday, April 12. Everyone is invited to attend.
Family Movie Night for this month will begin at 7 p.m. Saturday, March 25 at Whispering Pines Station 71. The movie will be "Return to Snowy River," the sequel to "The Man From Snowy River." Everyone is invited to come for fun and snacks.
To submit information for this monthly column, call (928) 474-5279 or e-mail email@example.com before the second Wednesday of the month.