I am writing this in response to some who are criticizing the Forest Service for the current clearing and prescribed burns that are being conducted around Payson.
I am a longtime resident and was here during the Rodeo-Chediski and Willow fires. I remember coming home one afternoon with the plume from the Rodeo in the sky and finding a pamphlet on the door giving directions in case an evacuation was needed.
I remember chunks of smoldering bark and ash falling like snow during the Willow. Twice in the last seven years Payson was seriously threatened by wildfire. The rains over the last couple years have helped, but the threat of wildfire is still very real.
The actions the Forest Service is now taking are not without cause or reason. They are being conducted to protect our homes, families and community.
I have been privileged to know Gary Roberts, who is a fire prevention officer with the Forest Service and I assure you there is genuine concern and commitment to protecting our town. So everyone should know that the smoke in the sky now may very well keep the flames from our homes in the future.
And maybe everyone should be thankful for the efforts of our Forest Service.