Hellsgate Fire Chief Gary Hatch sounds like he knows what he’s talking about, regarding cooperation among fire departments in the Rim Country. Why won’t Payson get on board?
“... neither Payson nor Gila County have adopted a firewise building code to regulate things like roof materials to minimize that chance that a distant fire will rain down embers that can set houses on fire. So few homeowners have cleared brush and trees from around their houses that once a fire gets started in Payson it can move through the treetops from house to house ...
“Meanwhile the four departments continue to work on a plan to merge their operations, despite Payson’s decision to pull back from the discussion about a month ago — in part because its operating without a fire chief ...
“If we were in Phoenix right now — to say every one to three fire stations needs its own administration, its own board — everyone would look at you and say that’s crazy ... the only way to survive ... is to all get together and operate as one department.”
What’s wrong, Payson? Are you interested in re-enacting Rome burning while Nero fiddled? Lets join our neighboring communities for mutual protection. Why won’t we cooperate with the fire chiefs of Hellsgate, Christopher-Kohl’s, Pine-Strawberry and Houston Mesa? What’s the hang-up? Fire season (which, realistically, is always) is coming. When/what do you plan to do when/if the fires start? If politics are involved, I think it’s past time to put that aside and work for the good of the Rim Country community. All of us.
C. Anne Boisvert