Residents Of Forest Communities Grateful For Fuel Break

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A group of ladies meet every Wednesday at different homes in Christopher Creek throughout the summer to socialize and play games.

Eighteen ladies enjoyed playing dominos and a card game called “hand and foot” at Pat Guevara’s home in Hunter Creek. They also enjoyed some delicious snacks. The ladies will meet every Wednesday from 1 to 4 p.m at different homes in Christopher Creek throughout the summer months.

Many thanks go out for the creation of the fuel break in Christopher Creek. It is finished and we are now safer than we have been in decades. Thanks are overdue to many people.

County Supervisor Tommie Martin got it started in the winter of 2007 when she challenged our community to match a $50,000 federal grant. Jim Oliver organized a group to get the project going. Representatives from the four homeowners groups — Christopher Creek, The Brooks, C-Canyon and Hunter Creek — organized and made plans to raise the money. Hundreds of homeowners and businesses together pitched in and “bought” a half-acre or an acre of fuel break. The Firebelles organized bake sales, auctions, raffles, and a concert. In all, the communities met and exceeded Supervisor Martin’s challenge. They raised more than $85,000 for the fuel break in less than six months! Amazing. And they waited.

There were some snags and delays in report writing and approval from the U.S. Forest Service level. Personnel cutbacks were slowing the process and delaying the fuel break, but in 2008 the communities re-mobilized and began letter-writing campaigns to congressional and Forest Service representatives. Representative Harry Mitchell, Gabrielle Giffords, Renzi and Senator Kyl wrote letters and made inquires on our behalf. There was movement and action and we thought we were going to have the fuel break before the fire season. Unfortunately, there were more delays and frustration.

In January of 2009, the committee again re-mobilized, this time at the urging of Caren Christensen. Same routine, letters to Congress, meetings with state and local Forest Service personnel. Representative Anne Kirkpatrick was helpful and sympathetic. At last the fuel break was approved and the cutting began. The team of workers was amazing at how fast they could cut and how efficiently they worked.

They were described by some of the locals as working like a horde of locusts and working like a bunch of ants. I personally watch this group of energetic workers cut and move and stack this wood so fast I could not believe it. They would cut, stack and keep going. It was amazing. Throughout the entire process, from winter of 2007 to summer of 2009, a member of the Payson office of the U.S. Forest Service was especially helpful, sympathetic and encouraging. A special thanks to Don Nunley for his patience with our frustration and guidance through the process. Don is a great guy, and deserves special thanks.

The residents of the communities love the fuel break. It looks good and they feel safer. Thanks to everyone involved in this long process. It is now up to the property owners to mange their own properties to keep it safe. Remember old Smokey Bear’s advice!

Labor Day

Labor Day is getting close and there will be a pancake breakfast and a bake sale at 8 a.m., Saturday, Sept. 5 at the fire department. Don’t cook, just come out and have a delicious breakfast and buy some baked goods for dinner. Those of you who would like to help out and bake, just drop off your baked goods at the fire department at 8 a.m.

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