Fire On The Mountain

CHRISTOPHER CREEK

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What's it going to take for people to realize that one cigarette thrown out a car window and one campfire not extinguished can set a forest on fire and cause an enormous amount of devastation? Ten acres were burned this past weekend along Highway 260 near Little Green Valley. Firefighters from the Forest Service were fighting the fire for three days, so it would not destroy any homes.

On Sunday night, May 13, a fire broke out on Promontory Point -- more than 1,400 acres are burned and it was human caused.

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Once again, a human-caused fire is threatening our mountain communities. The fire on Promontory Point broke out Sunday night and continues to burn.

As I write this column it is only 5 percent contained. As I stand on my front deck in Hunter Creek, you can see the devastation this fire is causing. It looks as though all of Promontory Point is on fire and it literally is.

Every year at this time, residents of Christopher Creek hold their breath and pray that someone won't come up this way and burn the beauty that surrounds us. And every year, it never fails, someone forgets to put a campfire out, or throws a lit cigarette on the ground and manages to destroy some of the most beautiful scenery around.

Monday night, before we went to bed at 11 p.m., we looked out at Promontory Mountain and it was all lit up in orange glow. It was the most eerie sight you ever want to see. Because the fire lies down at night, it turns orange and glows. As the sun rose Tuesday morning, it was bright orange because of the fire. A sight the residents of this area do not want to see.

Once again, what's it going to take? How many news articles have to be written, how many news shows have to remind people how dangerous it can be to leave a campfire before it is completely out or toss a lit cigarette on the ground?

Thanks to all the crews that are working so diligently to put this horrible fire out. The residents of the small community really appreciate all of you. There are 410 personnel, 13 crews, 11 engines, 4 dozers and 3 helicopters. Forest Service, Arizona State Lands, Gila County Emergency Management, Christopher Kohl's Fire Department, and many other agencies are doing everything possible to ensure the safety of this community.

Fire is currently spotting on top of the Rim. Crews are working hard to contain the spot fires. There are no reported spot fires below the Rim; everything is up on top. And there are no firefighting activities presently in the CKFD fire district.

All the homeowners associations in Christopher Creek have managed to raise $38,805 to help protect them from fire. That's pretty good, but we still have $11,000 to go. The Promontory Fire, which is burning above us on the mountain, is a huge reminder of how we need to wake up and take action.

The action is to contribute to the fuel fund so our community will be more defensible against fires for decades to come. Once established, the fuel break will be much easier to maintain. Thanks to all who have donated. Any amount will help. Write your check today payable to C-K Firebelles Fuel Fund and mail to CCHA, HC2 box 121-P, Payson, AZ 85541 today. Once again, thank you.

Don't forget all the fun planned for Memorial Day weekend to help raise money for the fire fund.

Starting Saturday, May 26, from 1 to 6 p.m., there will be brats and burgers, a bake sale, silent auction, raffle prizes and ice cream. Come out and spend the day. Then, for your entertainment, the band Mogollon has agreed to give a benefit performance on Sunday, May 27, from 2 to 4 p.m. They will be playing in the open air at the old Creekside Trailer Park site. Bring chairs or a blanket. Because of this performance, they have rescheduled the homeowners' meeting to Saturday, June 16 at 10 a.m. at the fire hall.

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