The Gila County Collaborative Community Fire Program has been selected as a winner in the National 2008 Acts of Caring Awards.
The Acts of Caring Awards recognized Gila County as one of the top county community improvement programs in the country. The award program is carried out by the National Association of Counties (NACo) in partnership with Freddie Mac.
The fire program involved helicopter-available first strike water sources, Wildland Urban Interface firebreaks, and free fire-wise brush bins.
The active partners who continue to participate are Gila County District I Supervisor, Tommie Martin; Gila County's Public Works and Sheriff's Departments; the Payson District Forest Service; State Lands; Arizona Department of Transportation; local fire districts; the Sheriff's Volunteer Posse; local communities and numerous citizen volunteers.
"With these early strike resources of strategically placed helicopter-available pots of water, we can make a difference," Martin said.
"We can make a little fire a non-fire every time, but if we can't do that initial strike, every fire becomes an event."
Only 18 counties received awards. The Gila County program was chosen after careful review by judges and was determined as one of the best of the best of all entries submitted.
"I am very proud of all of the active partners and their continued dedication to this program," Martin said.
The Gila County fire prevention program is entering its third year.
"I look forward to another fire season as successful as the last two years. We have proven that by working together, taking action and not placing blame, we can make a significant difference and change our future," Martin said.