Like many people in Payson and nearby communities, I live at the edge of our national forest; two sides of my home rest adjacent to it. Also, many of us are surrounded by many beautiful trees and bushes. Almost two years ago, after checking with the Payson Fire Department and asking for suggestions about cleaning my small, so-called back yard, I followed its findings, and, in spite of my advanced age, after many weeks of work, I and later a paid professional cleaned my place.
But on one side of my home sits a vacant lot full of weeds, dead vegetation and bushes and trees. Recently, I went to city hall for help. Someone there sent a letter to the owner of the lot, a developer living, I think, in Colorado, who ignored the request to clean up his place. When I went back to the city hall, I was basically told that nothing can be done since most lots throughout the city, and in my subdivision, are in a similar situation. This may be true, but still I really don’t understand the city’s answer that it’s not possible to force this developer to clean up his lots.
In the meantime, we read in your newspaper your good advice about cleaning the areas around our homes, and we see on television wildfires devastating our forests and towns similar to ours, while around here dryness and warm weather surround us.
What can I do? Clearly I cannot clean the adjacent lot to my house since it belongs to someone else. Most importantly, what can we do when so many homes in Payson will be in a very dangerous situation in case of a wildfire? What can be done or should be done to prepare and protect our town for an unexpected and devastating wildfire? We all are together in this. We could easily be scared, but unwisely do nothing. I believe that city hall, each one of us, and the developers who start a subdivision and then do not maintain the unsold lots safely, must do much more.
Dr. Francisco Lopez