New PSFD ambulance

A new state-of-the-art ambulance is now serving residents and visitors in the Pine-Strawberry area.

The Pine-Strawberry Fire Department has purchased a new state-of-the art ambulance with funds from a 2016 bond measure approved by voters.

The ambulance went into service May 29 after passing an Arizona Department of Health Services safety and reliability inspection.

The ambulance replaces a 19-year-old model that rescue crews sometimes deemed undependable.

“Paramedics were concerned about the old vehicle’s reliability and no patient wants to have a vehicle break down on them when they are experiencing a medical emergency,” said Fire Chief Gary Morris. “That could be life threatening.”

The old ambulance will remain housed at the Pine Fire Station.

With the addition of the ambulance, the fire department now has two new top-of-the-line emergency vehicles.

Just last year, PSFR acquired a Type 3 fire engine that is a hybrid basically built and modified by department members. Type 3 engines are most common in rural areas.

The engine includes a pump that can operate at 120 gpm, a large gas tank, 1,000 feet of 1-1/2 and 1-inch hose and a minimum of four fighters.

The engine and a P-S firefighting crew was sent out seven consecutive weeks last year to help fight wildfires raging in California including the devastating Woolsey Fire near Malibu.

The federal government reimbursed the local fire department 100 percent of personnel costs plus an hourly rate for fighting fires out of state.

The money earned help pay the $110,000 price tag for building the wildland-urban interface engine.

Morris estimates that had the department purchased a new brush truck rather than build a hybrid, the cost would have been $275,000.

Fire restrictions

Tonto National Forest officials have instituted fire restrictions beginning 8 a.m., Saturday, June 22.

“Arizona’s record wet winter has created a carpet of grasses which are now cured and dry due to recent high temperatures,” said Tonto National Forest Supervisor Neil Bosworth in a press release.

With the restrictions in place it is now illegal to build, maintain, attend or use a fire, campfire, or charcoal burning device outside of the metal fire rings and pedestal grills provided by the Forest Service at campsites.

Operating internal combustion power tools and using welding equipment or torches with open flames is also prohibited.

Also on June 15, those same restrictions imposed by the national forest went into effect in Pine-Strawberry.

Residents who see smoke, fire, burning, charcoal grilling, smoking outside, using outdoor fire pits or tiki torches or setting off fireworks are asked to report them to either fire station, in Pine, 928-476-4272 or in Strawberry, 928-476-2313.


The Pine-Strawberry Water Improvement District governing board held its monthly meeting at 6 p.m., Thursday, June 20.

Results of the meeting were not available at press time.

Also yesterday, Arizona Department of Environment Quality (ADEQ) officials were in Pine-Strawberry to perform a Microbiological Sample Siting Plan (MSSP) inspection that all public water systems are required to undergo.

The purpose of the inspection is to have a written procedure for monthly coliform samples. The MSSP helps ADEQ determine whether samples taken from PSWID wells are suitable for delivery to customers.

The district’s lead and sampling, emergency operation and disinfection byproducts plans will also be scrutinized.

ADEQ inspectors will also do walkthroughs of all system components including wells.

With the experienced Cato Esquivel on board as district manager and the current board of directors in place, most water customers are hopeful PSWID’s water woes are in the rearview mirror and the system is being managed correctly and professionally.

One reader told me, “This board has shown a lot of accountability.”

Shemetewa at library

Friends of Pine Library will host Zuni-Navajo Louie Shemetewa at its monthly meeting set for 1 p.m., Monday, July 22 in the library activity room. The public is invited and refreshments will be served.

Shemetewa grew up on the Navajo and Zuni reservations and will speak on the culture and history of both tribes as well as living in foster care off the reservation.

Having grown up in Winslow on the edge of the Navajo and Hopi reservations, this scribe had many tribal members as friends, classmates and teammates. Most all were in Winslow living in the government dormitory for children brought in from the reservations. I remember well that in those days, the 1960s and before, the government policy was placement in boarding schools and forced assimilation.

The disgusting alias for the policy decades ago was, “Kill the Indian, save the child.”

Thankfully in 1978, the Indian Child Welfare Act provided new protections for Native American children.

Shemetewa’s presentation could shed new perspectives on past practices.

Calling all puzzle buffs

The Isabelle Hunt Memorial Library has invited patrons and others, beginning Tuesday, June 18, to help celebrate the Grand Canyon’s centennial celebration by piecing together a “community puzzle for all” now in place in the young adults section. The puzzle should be a bit challenging since it contains 500 pieces.

The Grand Canyon actually celebrated its 100th birthday on Feb. 26, 2019, the actual centennial anniversary of when it was designated a national park. Today, about 6 million persons each year visit the park.

Thought for the week

“The best view comes after the hardest climb.”

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