Kevin McCully Payson Fuels Manager

Kevin McCully gives a presentation last June on Cal Fire Defensible Space Inspection Proceedures when he served as fire captain specialist in San Diego County last year.

Get ready for the town to step up its Firewise efforts with the hiring of a new fuels manager.

Just a year ago, Kevin McCully was knocking on doors in Ramona and Lakeside, Calif. to educate homeowners on how to properly Firewise. The retired San Diego County fire captain worked in fire for 30 years.

In an article that appeared in the Ramona Sentinel in June 2018, McCully explained the most critical areas to clear around a home are the first 30 feet. It’s safe to have live grass, but no dead vegetation. The next 70 feet can have thinned, healthy vegetation.

He explained why.

“We need defensible space to protect firefighters inside and take care of the structures,” said McCully during a fire board meeting. “It’s no guarantee the house will withstand a firestorm, but it gives us a good chance to protect it.”

The Payson Town Council voted to create McCully’s position to facilitate the implementation of a fire adaptive community program based on nationally recognized Firewise standards.

After a long search, applicants had to pass an assessment that took nine hours. The assessment included a written exam, a simulator exercise and interviews with not only Payson Fire Chief David Staub, but fire department personnel and members of the Firewise committee.

McCully first worked as a seasonal firefighter near Yosemite National Park. During his career, he added fire inspector, deputy fire marshal, engineer, tactical medic supervisor and fire captain to his resumé, putting him at the top of the list of candidates.

“When Kevin retired from CalFire in December 2018, he was a P.O.S.T. certified law enforcement officer assigned to fire investigations and managed the San Diego County defensible space (Firewise) program,” said Staub. “Kevin brings many tools and a diverse background to the Payson Fire Department, which will be an excellent asset to our team.”

If you would like to schedule a Firewise assessment, contact the Payson Fire Department at 928-474 5242.

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