Have Fun In The Forest, But Be Careful

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The forest fires around the state are alarming and frightening! This time of year is so dangerous to live amongst the ponderosa pine trees, but I don’t want to live anywhere else.

I just wish that more people who visit and live within the forest would have more respect for the fragility of the forest.

Even residents who live here year-round don’t show enough concern to obey the forest restrictions that are put in place by Tonto National Forest officials. They still build campfires, they smoke and throw their butts on the ground and show complete disregard of the fire danger. They ride their dirt bikes and quads on the restricted areas without spark arresters and in many cases, no license plate!

I don’t begrudge people to have fun and enjoy the forest, but not now! Wait until the rainy season starts and the threat of fire is diminished. If you need more information on closures you can call toll free at 877-864-6985. Or go online at http://publiclands.org/ firenews/AZ.php.

Remember, violation of these restrictions is punishable by a fine of up to $5,000 for individuals, $10,000 for organizations, and imprisonment for up to six months. Keep the forest safe from forest fires!

Mead and Collins Ranch

The county has put up mile markers on the Control Road all the way to Highway 87 by Pine.

Whenever there is an emergency on or near the Control Road, please find the mile marker number and report that number to 911. It will be faster for emergency vehicles to find the incident.

Someone has opened the fire bladder at Mead Ranch and drained 3,000 to 5,000 gallons from it before they shut it off. People should be reminded that they shouldn’t be playing on or in any way touching these bladders as this very important water is needed to protect the homes, especially now. It took the firefighters from station #23 at Mead four hours to refill the bladder.

Hellsgate firefighter and resident of Mead Ranch, Bobby Mollere has returned with Chief Hatch after running a water tender on the Wallow Fire for two weeks. Thank you Bobby for helping out with this terrible fire. Bobby has just completed the Fire OPS class and was second in the class after Travis Kilborne of Tonto Village. Congratulations Bobby and Travis.

The closure of the forest means a person cannot drive on the 29 Road except to come and leave Mead and Collins Ranch. No quad riding, no walking or hiking. No campfires and no smoking except in a closed vehicle.

As one Mead Ranch resident says, “Start the rain dance!”

Hellsgate Fire Department

Firefighters Rick Heron and Jeff Yunkens have been assigned to a Rapid Response team on the Monument Fire.

They have managed to save five homes from the quick moving fire. They feel so sad and emotional that they could not save more, but some homes could not be saved.

The Hellsgate Fireflies Auxiliary will hold their next meeting on Monday, July 11. The meeting will be at the Tonto Village fire station and will start at 9:30 a.m.

Some items on the agenda will be pre-planning for the Labor Day Barbecue, checking supplies needed, etc. A couple of work days will also be scheduled before the barbecue.

The Fireflies are dedicated to do their best for our firefighters. Everything that the Fireflies do as fund-raisers is strictly for the firefighters, they put their lives on the line for our community and they deserve nothing but the best that we can do for them.

The Hellsgate Fire Board will meet on Wednesday, July 13 at 5:30 p.m. at the Star Valley fire station.

There will be awards presented for years of service to Rick Heron, 16 years, Matt Highstreet, nine years, and Jeff Yunkens, six years. Congratulations to all of you.

Birthdays, anniversaries

A belated anniversary wish to Bob and Penny Wells, formerly of Christopher Creek. They celebrated 53 years of marriage on June 14. Penny is now an honorary member of the Fireflies and the chairperson for the cookbook to be published sometime next year, entitled “Fireflies Can Cook.”

Stephanie Morris of Tonto Village II celebrated her birthday on Tuesday, June 21. Danny Cain of Tonto Village III will add another candle to his birthday cake on Sunday, June 26.

Happy birthday to you both.

Double D Doings

Last Thursday evening there was a mixed pool competition. The winners were Ron Desrochers, first place, Tim Reed, second place and Randy Slapnicka shooting for third place. The guys were the winners, where were the gals? Anyway, congratulations to the winners.

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