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Sat, Sept. 21

What can you do about wildfire danger?
Learn from Firewise residents at meeting

In light of the recent Goodwin Fire, residents of Yavapai County are much more inclined to view their yards and property with new eyes and a clearer vision of the risk of wildfire.

Members of local Firewise Communities, forest service and fire personnel will report on their accomplishments over the past two months at 8 a.m. Thursday, Aug. 3, when the Prescott Area Wildland Urban Interface Commission meets in the Freeman Building at the Prescott Rodeo Fairgrounds, 840 Rodeo Drive, Prescott. Many will be available after the meeting to answer questions about PAWUIC and how to become a Firewise Community.

After updates from fire and forest agencies, a 30-minute demonstration will explain why it takes three firefighters and two Life Line staff to answer medical emergency calls.

PAWUIC President Bob Betts said he was impressed by the demonstration at a recent Rotary meeting and requested a repeat for the PAWUIC organization. Some people have wondered why cities and towns can’t cut costs by sending just an ambulance on medical calls. This presentation will answer that question.

Thirty-two Firewise Communities exist in the Prescott area including the two newest sites, Upper Blue Hills in Dewey-Humboldt and Victorian Estates in Prescott Valley.

In Dewey-Humboldt this past week, residents filled council chambers to listen to yet another presentation about the benefits of clearing overgrown vegetation from their property. Prior meetings had elicited much less interest, Betts said, but the evacuation of the Blue Hills area of town on the west side of Highway 69 due to the Goodwin Fire attracted a greater crowd this time.

“These kinds of things energize people – momentarily,” he said.

Fires in the Prescott Lakes and Victorian Estates also have increased interest in this program.

“Pinion Oaks residents are trying hard to get recognition and certification by the end of the year,” Betts said.

To become a Firewise Community, residents go through five steps: obtain a wildfire risk assessment from state forestry or fire department; form a board or committee and create an action plan; conduct a Firewise Day event; invest a minimum of $2 per person in Firewise actions for the year; create a Firewise Portal account and submit an application.

More than 1,400 sites around the United States are recognized as Firewise Communities. Each year, participants must continue to conduct annual events and document their investments. Depending on the company, property owners may find a decrease in insurance if they belong to a certified Firewise Community. More information and eight downloadable documents and checklists are available at Yavapaifirewise.org/available-resources/.

PAWUIC meets the first Thursday of the month except July. The public is always welcome. At the upcoming Sept. 7 meeting, a recap of the Goodwin Fire from the firefighters’ point of view will take place, plus an assessment of the sole property that took measures to mitigate wildfire danger in Breezy Pines. For more information, call 928-277-8032 or email pawuic1@gmail.com.

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