side by side comparison firewise

The newly renamed Fire Adaptive Community Committee hopes to have all properties look like the one on the left. Cleaning up landscaping reduces the risk of wildfire by 83% according to fire officials. But FACC needs volunteers to help spread the word and aid those who are financially or physically unable to remove brush from their properties.

There’s a group of people that have done more to protect Payson from wildfires than any other — the newly renamed Fire Adaptive Community Committee.

Its mission is to assist the Town of Payson Fire Department in its efforts to adapt Payson to living within the wildland-urban interface.

The group has a large feather in its cap — the passage of a Firewise ordinance by the Payson Town Council last year.

Firewise focuses on the landscaping and downed duff around a home to control an outbreak of fire during an ember storm.

For years, the FACC worked and re-worked an ordinance that empowers the town to hold property owners accountable for clearing and cleaning up their yards. The ordinance also signals to residents the town is serious about focusing on Firewise.

FACC works closely with Kevin McCully, the fuels manager for the PFD.

He prefers to use the carrot of education rather than the stick of enforcement.

“Most of the problems come from out-of-town property owners,” he said.

The committee supports McCully’s vision to use education to teach the public about the risk from wildfire, stimulate the public to participate in cleaning up the town through events and media outreach, while finding ways to reduce the fuels in the community.

But the FACC needs volunteers.

“We are developing subcommittees to address three priority areas and building volunteer teams to get things rolling,” said Shirley Dye, a member of the FACC’s steering committee.

So far, FACC has clearly defined two.

The communications/media team will develop a social media presence for FACC and reach out to local media with information about what the committee is doing and upcoming events.

Members of this committee will receive training as public information officers.

The Neighbor-Helping-Neighbor Team will recruit and train volunteers to help those unable to Firewise for physical or financial reasons reduce the fuel on their properties.

Along with physical labor, this subcommittee seeks to come up with new ideas and volunteer opportunities to address the problem of removing the cuttings (green waste) from fuel mitigation projects.

“The FACC has many other volunteer opportunities depending on your giftedness and time availability,” said Dye.

Please call Shirley Dye at 928-951-6774, or the Payson Fire Department at 928-474-5242, for more information.

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(1) comment

Phil Mason

This group of Payson residents is donating thousands of hours every year to help prevent a Paradise California event here. In addition to the countless hours donated to this critical issue, we have the most valuable municipal staff individual I have worked with in my decades of previous volunteer service.

Fuels Manager Kevin McCully combines the heart, brains, energy and initiative that we desire in all government workers. He is a jewel here in Payson that should be highly valued by all.

The only missing link in providing the best protection for Payson would be a higher level of fuels reduction by the Tonto NF hierarchy. The forest lands southwest of town to the Doll Baby Ranch is a Level 10 risk and fuels mitigation there should be the primary focus for our Town Council and staff, Gila County officials, the Tonto NF Department, the Tonto Apache Tribe, APS, SRP, and every citizen.

While there are certainly many challenges facing our town, this is the only one that, if not addressed immediately, could reduce the town to ashes.,


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