During the next few weeks, the Northern Gila County Historical Society is packing its calendar with special events.
The society’s fund-raising banquet is from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m., Saturday, May 22 at the Chaparral Pines Golf Club.
The evening will include a no-host bar opening at 5 p.m. for cocktails; dinner and music at 6 p.m.; and a program from 7 p.m. to 8 p.m. featuring a documentary and speaker on the Dude Fire. Commemorative booklets, “Dude Fire + 20” will be offered as well.
The evening will include door prizes, a raffle and a live auction. Among the auction items are a round of golf for four at Chaparral Pines and dinner for two at Chaparral Pines.
Tickets are $35 per person and seating will be limited to 125 people; they can be purchased at the museum in Green Valley Park.
Commemorating the devastating fire, which started June 25, 1990, is the focus of the society’s special events, which will pay tribute to the men and women who fought the Dude Fire.
There will be a new exhibit at the society’s museum in Green Valley Park opening June 2 on the fire. The display will be open for visitation during the museum’s regular hours, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., Monday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday and from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m., Sunday.
It contains information on the fire, forest health, rebuilding efforts following the fire and a special section just for children.
During June, all firefighters, both active and retired, along with their spouses and children, will be admitted free of charge with firefighting identification.
A special 20th Anniversary Dude Fire Memorial is planned from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m., Saturday, June 26 to show appreciation for firefighters and will include recognition of the six who died in the 1990 fire.
Jim Paxon, who was the information officer with the U.S. Forest Service during the Dude Fire, and subsequent blazes, will be the guest speaker. He will talk about his experiences.
Following his program, Paxon will be signing copies of his books, “The Monster Reared its Ugly Head: the Story of the Rodeo-Chediski Fire” and “Fire as a Tool of Nature.” Stan Brown, who authored the museum’s booklet on the Dude Fire, will also be available for autographs.