The Chaparral Pines community was presented with a plaque on on May 10 recognizing it as the 21st community in Arizona and the sixth community in Gila County to become a part ofhe Firewise Communities/USA, program started in 2002.
This accolade did not come easy, the Chaparral Pines group said. The Firewise Committee has been working almost two years to meet a rigorous set of requirements. By educating homeowners on firewising their lots, and through spring and fall clean up events, newsletter articles, and Dumpsterays withtreetside pick up, the committee is finally seeing its efforts pay off.
Two Arizona State Land Department representatives, Phoenix District Forester Scott Hunt and local Forester Lee Ann Beery, presented the Firewise Communities/USA plaque to Jackie Badger, co-chair of the Firewise Committee. Tommie Martin, Gila County Supervisor, announced an individual award to the Chaparral Pines Firewise Board and Community for the part they played in efforts resulting in Gila County's recent Acts of Caring Award from the National Association of Counties. Penny Pew, district director of the Show Low Office of Representative Rick Renzi, presented a Special Congres-sional Recognition Award to the Chaparral Pines Community.
The committee is not stopping its efforts with these achievements. It recently started a new program centered around a map of Chaparral Pines that is color coded to identify those lots which have been treated with firewise techniques and those which have not.
The committee is finding that increased community awareness is motivating more and more people to firewise their property for the safety of their own homes and the homes of their neighbors.
The Firewise Communities/USA program is of special interest to small communities and neighborhood associations that are willing to mitigate against wildfire by adopting and implementing programs tailored to their needs, said the group.
Communities create the programs themselves with the cooperative assistance from state forestry agencies and local fire staff.haparral Pines could not have earned Firewise Communities/USA recognition without the time and energy of local forest and fire agencies.
he celebration on Saturday included Payson and Hellsgate Fire Department trucks manned by fire fighters ready to answer questions from the children who attended the event.
Current members of the Chaparral Pines Firewise Committee are co-chairs Jackie Badger and Marilyn Ekern, Sue Hoecker, Bob Apodaca, Mel Sorenson, Carol Ransome, Mike Foree, Charlotte Petrusha, Judy Dragiewicz, Diane Bricker, Joanne Bosley, Lee Ann Beery (from the Arizona State Forestry Service), Jonnie Geen, and Melissa Randall.