If a forest fire ever races toward the town of Star Valley or a cataclysmic event occurs, residents need to have a way out of their homes. More so, council members need a way to notify residents of the danger.
On Tuesday, the council discussed establishing emergency evacuation routes and alternative ways out of Star Valley using private roads and establishing an alert system.
Councilor Gary Coon is spearheading the project, already laying the groundwork for an emergency alert system.
Using the Hellsgate Fire District’s maps, which break Star Valley into 16 districts, Coon is creating “phone trees” for each section of town. In the event of an emergency, the town would notify a central contact in each district. They would then call four or five people in the district and those people would call four or five residents. Quickly, the information would be disseminated and at no cost, Coon said.
“We are surrounded by forests and mountains, making us vulnerable,” Coon said. “I am designing an emergency alert system to notify residents of an emergency in an orderly manner.”z
Resident participation is voluntary.
In conjunction with the alert system, Coon is contacting residents about evacuation routes.
Currently, several sections of town are accessible by only one road. If that road was blocked, emergency services could not access those areas and residents would be trapped.
If residents give approval, the town could establish secondary routes across properties that connect roadways.
Knolls resident Bill Davis, also a member of Star Valley’s Streets and Roads Commission, said his neighborhood has been looking at evacuation routes since they have the same problem of limited access roads.
“It is a serious issue,” he said. “It should not be soft pedaled.”
Davis urged the council to do something quickly.
Coon said he would continue working on the project and asked councilors for help.
Town Manager/Attorney Tim Grier said town hall would facilitate any help Coon needed.
In other news:
• The council accepted an acre parcel free from Theodor and Judy Preble. The property sits on the east side of Houston Creek and includes part of the channel near Highway 260.
• The council unanimously approved a resolution that supports Gila Community College becoming fully independent from Eastern Arizona College.
• The crossing at Valley Road was named “Moe’s Crossing.”