The next two webinars by the Gila County Cooperative Extension Service, at 11 a.m., Thursday, Oct. 29 and Nov. 5, focus on wildfire topics.

The past two years of back-to-back and recordbreaking wildfire activity sparked the topics for webinars.

On Thursday, Oct. 29 Gila County Emergency Manager Carl Melford discusses planning tools such as the Gila County Community Wildfire Protection Plans (CWPP) and how to help protect your home, family and community from the evolving threat of wildfire, and post-fire flooding events that follow.

On Thursday, Nov. 5 Tonto National Forest Fire Ecologist Dr. Mary Lata hosts an update on Woodbury Fire Ecology.

Cooperative Extension’s series of free weekly online presentations are arranged and hosted by Chris Jones, extension agent, with the University of Arizona Gila County Cooperative Extension. To be added to the invite list for gardening and horticulture workshops, email ckjones@email.arizona.edu or call 928- 402-8586.

Please login up to 10 minutes prior to the webinar; the Zoom address is arizona.zoom.us/j/95997618518; but easier and more convenient direct hotlinks are at extension.arizona.edu/gila, where you can also view previous programs, such as “Winter Gardening” and “Payson’s New Fire Adapted Community Code.”

The Cooperative Extension Service’s website has an array of links to programs, talks and resources for Rim Country gardeners. Links are also conveniently posted each week on Facebook, where you can join Jones and a local network of gardeners and green-thumbed followers at facebook.com/gilaextension.

About the speakers

Melford began a public safety career as a detention officer with the Gila County Sheriff’s Office and then served as a Globe Police Department officer. In 2015 he was hired by Gila County Emergency Management, and focused on implementing Gila County’s own emergency notification system — available free to residents throughout the county who opt to sign up for real-time text, voice or email emergency alerts (subscribe at readygila.com).

Lata works as a fire ecologist for the Tonto National Forest. A native Iowan, Lata’s fire career started in 1993 with three seasons of mostly tall grass prairie restoration on an internship with The Nature Conservancy.

From 1999 to 2001, she worked for the National Park Service at Badlands National Park in South Dakota and as a fire effects monitor out of Bandelier National Monument in New Mexico.

In 2010, she moved to Flagstaff as the fire ecologist on the core team for the Four Forest Restoration Initiative. Desiring to get back on the ground, in May 2018 she became the fire ecologist for the Tonto National Forest in Arizona.

Contact the reporter at tmcquerrey@payson.com

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