Communities Unite To Raise Fuel Break Funds

CHRISTOPHER CREEK

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The adults outnumbered the children at the Christopher Creek Homeowners' Annual Easter Egg Hunt -- there were 30 adults and 19 children at the Saturday event. It was a beautiful day to hunt for eggs. There were 400 plastic eggs hidden throughout the forest, along with 100 decorated, hard-boiled eggs that Karen Thornton cooked and dyed, which were donated by Tall Pines Market. The market also again donated several prizes for the children.

Markus Johnson, 6, found the least amount of eggs in his group and Hanna Moran, 7, found the most eggs. Taylor Cole, 12, found the least amount in his age group and Kyle Milhon, 9, found the most eggs.

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Nearly 50 people participated in the Easter fun in Christopher Creek April 7.

Morgan Alvin won first in the Easter bonnet contest, and her sister Maggie won second; runners-up for best bonnets were Maddy Poinier, 9, and Nick Poinier, 11.

Laura Alvin won for best bonnet in the adult category due to default. No one else wore one in the category.

There is a lot of energy in the Christopher Creek area these days. Four homeowners' associations: The Brooks, Christopher Creek, Hunter Creek and C-Canyon are working hard and fast to raise $50,000 in the next 80 days. These four groups are spearheading the money-raising effort to match the $50,000 in federal funds made available through the efforts of County Supervisor Tommie Martin and Gila County. The money will be used to begin clearing a much-needed fuel break on the southwest side of the Christopher Creek community.

The Christopher Kohl's Fire Board has been instrumental in facilitating the project and bringing together the county, the Forest Service and the HOAs to take advantage of this great opportunity to make Christopher Creek area safer.

Our 12-year drought and past policies of putting out fires have combined to create forest undergrowth that is not only unhealthy but also dangerous. Undergrowth can have a laddering effect -- take a fire up the treetops, resulting in a crown fire, the most dangerous kind by far.

A fuel break is designed to keep a fire on the ground where it can be more easily fought and controlled.

The plan is to eventually have a fuel break 330 feet wide around all of Christopher Creek where the forest undergrowth and smaller trees that fuel fires have been reduced. The total area for this swath is about 329 acres. With this year's current effort, if all $50,000 is raised, and doubled, about 142 acres will be completed. Since about 90 percent of forest fires in our region move from a southwesterly to a northeasterly direction, the first stage will concentrate on the western and southern perimeters.

The money must be raised and the agreement signed by June 30. Estimates are that it will cost about $700 per acre to reduce the fuel, through cutting and piling for later burning.

The Christopher Creek Homeowners Association is asking all property owners to "clear an acre" by donating $350. That amount matched with the federal grant will clear an acre of dangerous fire fuel.

Every property owner needs to pitch in to "clear an acre" or with whatever amount they can afford.

Checks should be made payable to C-K Firebelles Fuel Break, contributions are tax-deductible and can be mailed to your homeowners' associations or to CCHA, HC2 Box 121-P, Payson, AZ 85541.

The Fuel Break Committee has other fund-raisers planned in the near future. A raffle with many great items is planned for Memorial Day weekend and the annual Brats & Burgers extravaganza will be held on May 26.

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