Hard to believe, but the Southwest wildfire season has already launched and Rim Country will have events for the next weeks to prepare citizens for wildfire.
Nationally, humans cause 90 percent of wildfires. Knowing how to prepare and avoid fires plays a vital role in reducing wildfires.
Already in April, the region participated in the Southwest Wildfire Awareness Week April 7-13.
Payson Ranger District Fire Protection Officer Gary Roberts gave out daily suggestions on how to prepare for wildfire during including:
• Move flammable items away from the home, such as wood piles, lawn chairs and gas grills.
• Extinguish coals in campfires. “If it’s too hot to touch, it’s too hot to leave. Drown and stir just to make sure.”
• Maintain spark arrestors and don’t run power equipment on windy days.
• Check chains. Dragging chains or other metal parts from vehicles throw sparks that can ignite wildfires.
• Avoid parking hot vehicles on dry grass. They can start a wildfire.
• Remove pine needles and leaves from roofs as embers from wildfire can travel more than a mile at a time.
• Create defensible space around homes to help firefighters.
• Before target shooting in the forest, check the rules and regulations when conditions are hot and dry.
• Know and follow the Ready, Set, Go guidelines: https://ein.az.gov/ready-set-go.
And May 4 was Wildfire Community Preparedness Day.
Communities recognized by the national National Fire Protection Association as Firewise communities, such as East Verde Estates and Alpine Heights, honored the day with brush pickups.
But the most comprehensive event will be the Pine Firewise Day.
In its fourth year, the event will fall on Saturday, May 18 from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. in the Pine Community Center.
The theme forest health, will have speakers, events for the kids and demonstrations, said Elsa Steffanson, board member of the Pine Strawberry Fuel Reduction Committee, organizers of the event.
Speakers include P-S Fire Chief Gary Morris, who will talk about current fire conditions in the area and Stephen McKelvey, with the Arizona Department of Forestry and Fire Management who will talk about bark beetles and forest health.
Kids can meet birds and snakes.
Fallen Feathers, “bring beautiful birds that live in our forest and educate about their habits,” said Steffanson.
The Phoenix Herpetological Society “will be bringing a variety of snakes and teaching the difference between harmless snakes and dangerous ones,” said Steffanson.
APS will have the weenie wagon “a great demonstration of the power of electricity and danger of downed power lines ... and exploding hot dogs!” said Steffanson.
The group hopes to have fire trucks and helicopters on display.
Vendors will teach dog owners how to avoid snakes, what’s going on with local trail building, how to volunteer and much more.
Steffanson said local business owners, Duane and Lana Ridl, of Farm Bureau Financial Services will provide free pulled port sandwiches, chips and a drink.
For more information on this event, visit the event’s Facebook page — Pine Firewise Day.