Chief Essary and the Whispering Pines fire board would like to take this opportunity to thank the community for all of your support during 2006.
We now have four engineers, seven EMTs, two paramedics and seven firefighters, for a total of 20 First Responders in our fire department.
Firefighters Bob Hull and Cheryl Sandell are now in EMT training at Gila Community College.
For all of you who listen on scanners, the Forest Service has given a new designation for brush trucks. Because Whispering Pines Fire District has a mutual aid contract with the Forest Service, we must have the same designations on our trucks as they do, to cut down on confusion when fighting wildfires.
The brush truck at Rim Trail Station 72 is now called Engine 726 and will be the primary dispatch to that area.
The brush truck at Geronimo Estates Station 73 is now called Engine 736 and will be primary dispatch for that area.
Whispering Pines Station 71 will still have Engine 711 as the primary dispatch for that area.
Of course, any of the engines or water tenders may go outside their primary area to back up another engine if needed.
The department has taken a break from training during December and January, so that our personnel could spend time with their families for the holidays. Training will resume in February.
The department has a free smoke detector program. Each home should have at least two newer models installed.
If you are in need of new smoke detectors, please call (928) 474-3088, and if no one is there, leave a message.
Some of the local communities are already working to be included into the Whispering Pines Fire District. Washington Park has recently been accepted and Bonita Creek is close. We are still waiting on several other communities to make arrangements to join us for fire protection and medical service.
The next Whispering Pines Fire District fire board meeting will be on Wednesday, Feb. 14, at 6:30 p.m. at Station 71. Everyone is invited to attend.
The first 2007 Pancake Breakfast for WPFD will be the second Saturday in April.
The first 2007 Family Movie night at Station 71 will be Saturday, Jan. 27, at 7 p.m. Come out for fun and snacks.
The movie will be "Loves Abiding Joy." It is the third in a series by best selling author Janette Oke.
There are quite a few houses now being built in Geronimo Estates and Elusive Acres. The construction has increased our dirt road traffic considerably. Please be extra careful when driving in the community and on the narrow Control Road.
There is also a fallen tree hazard on the Control Road. So, be extra careful when rounding curves and cresting hills because there may be a bark beetle killed ponderosa pine across the road.
There were 10 trees down between Geronimo and Highway 87 that had to be cleared away during the recent windstorm.
We are happy to report that Bob Smolenski has recovered rapidly from his bypass surgery and is back home.
-- If you have any input for this monthly column, send it by e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org or call (928) 474-5279.