Lack Of Fire Protection Topic At Gisela Meeting

Gila County Supervisor Mike Pastor will meet with residents Saturday in Gisela to discuss, among other things, lack of fire protection in outlying communities. All Bikes in Rye after the fire.

Photo by Andy Towle. |

Gila County Supervisor Mike Pastor will meet with residents Saturday in Gisela to discuss, among other things, lack of fire protection in outlying communities. All Bikes in Rye after the fire.


Gila County Supervisor Mike Pastor on Saturday will hold his first community meeting in Gisela, the northern most section of his district.

He’s hoping residents will bring any questions or concerns they have about the county, Deer Creek, Gisela or Rye.


Gila County Supervisor Mike Pastor will meet with residents Saturday in Gisela to discuss, among other things, lack of fire protection in outlying communities. The recent fire in Rye as well as one last year in Deer Creek raised concerns about the vulnerability of rural communities.

Pastor said he expects the discussion will include the recent fire in Rye and concerns about fire protection in the area.

Many Deer Creek residents didn’t even realize they have no real fire protection when a home burned down there a year ago. Crews came from Payson and Gisela to fight that blaze, although they have no responsibility for the area. Response times were long enough that crews could do little to save the house, but instead focused mostly on keeping the flames from spreading to other houses or the surrounding chaparral.

The huge fire in a bicycle and auto storage, sales and scrap operation that destroyed several adjoining mobile homes raised the dangers posed by the lack of fire protection afresh. The area has no fire hydrants, cohesive water system or storage to supply firefighters with water. Instead, the engines that responded from surrounding fire departments had to rely on 3,000-gallon tanker trucks, which had to drive to Payson repeatedly to fill up.

Recently, the county placed a water bladder in Rye to help protect the community.

Pastor said the timing of the meeting is serendipitous and was scheduled well before the fire.

“I had been in contact with a Gisela resident about setting up a meeting since I had never come out there before,” he said.

Pastor said he is holding meetings throughout his district — meet and greet gatherings with residents since starting his second term in office.

In August, he has a meeting planned in the Young area.

Pastor said he hopes residents will attend and voice their questions and concerns.

“I hope to have some answers and if I don’t, I’ll follow up,” he said.

The meeting takes place July 13 from 9 a.m. to 10 a.m. at the Gisela Community Center.


Meria Heller 3 years, 6 months ago

Form a volunteer fire department like a lot of small towns in America.


Ronald Hamric 3 years, 6 months ago

According to the National Fire department Census, 71% of fire departments in this country are staffed by 100% volunteer firefighters. That would certainly be an option for both Deer Creek and Rye, but one doesn't simply "create" a volunteer fire department. There is an couple of outfits called FedOSHA and the National Fire Administration that oversees just how much training, what types of equipment , and the safety of those undertaking such an endeavor as firefighting. That all costs $$$$ and I see little evidence that either Rye or Deer Creek has that kind of "disposable income". And as we have seen recently, even Payson has cut from the Fire Department budget, so revenues are always the core consideration of such a service. There is the option of a Fire District being formed but then the costs associated with the services provided by that district will most assuredly come via raised taxes, either property or use taxes. Want to live rural? It comes with inherent risks. Don't want to accept those risks, live in the big city where the cost of services is spread over a larger number of service users. It's not rocket science.


Pat Randall 3 years, 6 months ago

Call Rural Fire Dept in Scottsdale or Mesa. They would like to get more districts. Scottsdale had them for years and may still have them. I have them in Mesa as I live in a small county island in Dreamland Villa and do not have Mesa Fire protection. It costs me $234 a year. Much less than what your taxes would be for a fire district. Your fire insurance would probably go down also. However you have to pay your dues on time because if you don't and they come to your home you are charged by the hour, by the man, and equipment. Big expense then. They also make first aid calls and have paramedics.


Ronald Hamric 3 years, 6 months ago


I may be wrong, but I doubt Scottsdale Rural would even consider Deer Creek and Rye. There's just simply more investment required than can be compensated for by charges that the folks in those areas could afford. Remember, Scottsdale Rural is a "for profit" enterprise and the bottom line pretty much dictates their quality and level of service. They are successful in the areas they serve because many subscribers pay for the direct services obtained by a very few subscribers. They operate on the same principle as insurance companies do. Obamacare is designed to operate the same way. A lot of healthy people paying into the system while a lot of sick folks receive the direct benefits.


Barbara Rasmussen 3 years, 6 months ago

I wonder if a deal with one of the local fire departments could be reached for the area. While the response time might be more than what we have in the area engines could respond to fire and EMS calls to Rye and Deer Creek. I am sure that there would have to be some type of fee levied on the residents in the area of Deer Creek and Rye but I would think it would be well worth the extra dollars. I would rather have a well equipped, well trained department a short distance away than have to be relying on garden hose if there was a fire.


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