After cataloging nearly 33 years of disasters, Star Valley’s multi-hazard mitigation plan is nearly complete.
Star Valley is one of only three towns in Arizona without a disaster plan in place.
“If we don’t have a disaster plan in place, then if we do have a disaster or flood, we can’t get funding and we cant get any mitigation funds to prevent it,” Heron said.
Work on the disaster plan started in September, when Mayor Chuck Heron, along with council member George Binney, Gila County Supervisor Shirley Dawson, county flood control engineer Darde Deroulhac, hazard mitigation planner Dwight Nieldm, mitigation planning program manager Susan Wood and a Hellsgate Fire District and Forest Service representative got together to start the plan.
The disaster plan identifies the areas of town that could be affected by a fire, flooding or other disaster, and strategies of ways to reduce or eliminate the risk from those hazards. Star Valley chose to focus on flooding and wildfires — the town’s most probable disasters.
“We have had no wildfires in town, but close to here in Payson there have been some,” Heron said. “Flooding has been our biggest problem.”
To complete the plan, the town cataloged all of the disasters going back to 1975.
The Disaster Mitigation Act of 2000 (DMA2K) requires local, county, state and tribal governments to have a Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) approved hazard mitigation plan in order to be eligible for federal disaster mitigation funds.
The planning team anticipates having the draft done in early 2009, at which time the public can view it and then it will be sent to FEMA, who has 30 to 60 days to approve it.
According to FEMA, as of July, all 50 states have approved mitigation plans and more than 17,000 local jurisdictions currently have approved mitigation plans that cover nearly 73 percent of the nation’s population.
For more information or for questions regarding the hazard mitigation planning process and plan, contact Heron at HC 5 Box 49-90, Star Valley, AZ 85541 or e-mail, firstname.lastname@example.org.