It is no longer time to prepare for fire season. Fire season is upon us.
The Promontory Fire may not be the biggest fire this area has seen, but it is a stressful one. It is burning on steep, dangerous terrain. It is difficult to approach, both for the physical stamina that it takes to reach it and for the mental effort it takes to stay safe while fighting a fire that is basically burning up the side of a cliff.
There are more than 600 people out there in the forest, battling that blaze. Many of them are Rim Country residents, but the majority of them are not. Still, they are giving their all to protect us.
Since the fire is in such a remote area, most of us will never see the faces of the men and women who are out there.
This is a generous town and, in a time of crisis, we are at our best.
Many people have called the newspaper asking what they can do to help.
After a few phone calls, we learned that the firefighters are well taken care of, logistically. They have food. They have shelter. They have the equipment they need.
What they do need is our encouragement.
If you would like to send notes of support to the firefighters or have your children draw pictures or write letters, we will be collecting them at the Payson Roundup or, on the other side of town, at the office of the Rim Country Regional Chamber of Commerce. We will deliver your cards and well-wishes.
Otherwise, there isn't much that we can do, but offer our prayers -- each in his or her own way -- for the firefighters' safety and for the end of the flames.
Occasionally, some of the firefighters come into town for supplies or for a break. If you see one, stop and offer your thanks for what they are doing.
Otherwise, keep your distance from the fire.
The Forest Service has asked that people avoid the area of Highway 260 near the fire unless it is absolutely necessary for you to drive in that direction. Many have been gone up there to satisfy curiosity, parking on the side of the road to stare or take pictures and creating a dangerous situation for traveling firefighters and other traffic.
If there are any alerts, changes in condition, words of advice from those fighting the fires or evacuation announcements, we will post them regularly on our Web site, payson.com, and call them into our news partner KCMA 98.5 FM.