Beaver Valley residents are making excellent progress toward creating a "fire safe" community, according to Tom Zelkovich, chief of the Beaver Valley Fire Department.
During a four-week clean up period ending April 22, residents removed about 1,500 cubic yards of brush and other foliage from their lots and deposited it on a field adjacent to the fire station. The fire department conducted a controlled burn of the debris April 22 and 23.
Early last week, 17 members of the Flagstaff Hotshot crew used the area for a training exercise. The Hotshot crew cut two 20-foot-wide fire breaks adjacent to the community -- one north and the other south of Beaver Valley. Each break was about one-half-mile long.
Gila County Supervisor Tommie Martin, commended the community for its efforts and said that because the Forest Service probably will establish a no-burn condition in early May, the county will provide Beaver Valley with a commercial-size dumpster for the next two weeks so residents will have a place to dispose of additional brush cleared from lots.
"With the extremely dry conditions this year, safety efforts such as those at Beaver Valley and other area communities are vitally important. We expect a tough fire season and anything that reduces the potential fuel load is important to community safety," she said.
Zelkovich said the fire department and Beaver Valley's homeowners association are working together to inspect all lots and inform the owners of actions needed to make their lots more fire safe.
"A team effort between the fire department, the association and property owners is the best way to reach our goal of all lots being fire safe," he said. "We hope everyone will continue their voluntary efforts to reduce the fire danger." Beaver Valley residents who cannot clean their lots due to age or infirmity may call the fire department at (928) 472-4711 for assistance.
If, for some reason, an owner does not clean up a lot and it presents a fire danger, the homeowners association has the authority to authorize clean-up work and bill the owner for the cost.