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2015 Pine/Strawberry Fuel Reduction Roadside Brush And Leaf Bag Pick-Up

This program is for do-it-yourself property owners who do not have a truck or trailer to be able to remove thinned brush from their property.

Download the schedule and guidelines (all residents received a copy in their mailbox).

NO CONTRACTORS BRUSH PILES WILL BE PICKED UP.

Only green waste will be picked up- brush, branches, small cut rounds and leaf, cone & needle litter.

NO HOUSEHOLD GARBAGE OR CONSTRUCTION / LUMBER MATERIALS WILL BE PICKED UP

  1. Brush piles must be kept out of ditches for proper drainage and so culvert pipes don’t clog with debris
  2. Pile brush parallel to the street and on the street-side of ditches.
  3. Pine needles must be piled, nor bagged.
  4. Leaves and pinecones must be bagged.  The bag will be emptied and left behind for the owner to discard.
  5. Branches and small cut rounds cannot exceed 6 feet in length and 4 inches in diameter.
  6. Work with your neighbors to pile brush and needles in as few piles as possible.  Several small brush piles and needle piles are more difficult and time consuming to pick up.

PLEASE ADHERE TO YOUR ZONES LAST DAY TO PUT OUT BRUSH AS THERE WILL BE ONLY ONE BRUSH PICK-UP IN EACH ZONE THIS YEAR.

Once the brush truck passes your property it will not come back.

Your cooperation with these guidelines will assure the success of the program. Again, review the schedule and guidelines printed in the mailer.

Questions?  Call our Hotline at 928-970-0713

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Information for 2015 Fire on the Rim Mountain Bike Race

Hello All,

Well, it’s that time of year again; time time to start planning for the Fire on the Rim Mountain Bike Race to be held on September 11–13, 2015.  Every year we tell you that the race is going to be bigger and better.  And every year IT IS!

Check out last year’s highlight video

We have some exciting changes planned this year including an all new revamped Kid’s Race sponsored by Flagstaff Sports Massage that is sure to be totally awesome, and new sponsors including Native Air Medical Transport.

Our very own THAT Brewery is returning as Title Sponsor for 2015 (YAY!) and we’ll go green with Roland of Sunrise Energy Systems and his solar power.

To hear more and to see how you can help this year, please plan to join us for our first volunteer meeting on Thursday, June 4, at 6 pm in the Senior Dining Hall at the Community Center.Check out all the volunteer opportunities and sign up early.

Stay up to date with everything about the race at http://www.fireontherim.com/

fire-on-the-rim

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May-June 2015 Trail Work Schedule

we-want-you-for-trail-work-500Here’s the new schedule for trail work in May and June. 

We’ll be meeting at the Pine Trailhead just south of Pine. 

If the meeting location changes I will notify you in advance.  In case of inclement weather we will reschedule and I’ll notify you. 

See you on the trail!

  • May 9, Saturday, 8am – 12pm:  Work on the Pine View Trail. Bring own lunch/snacks/water.
  • May 23, Saturday, 8am – 12pm:  Work from the Pine Trailhead. Led by Tom & Bobbie. Bring own lunch/snacks/water.
  • June 6, Saturday, 8am – 12pm:  Work from the Pine Trailhead. Led by Rick & Bev. Bring own lunch/snacks/water.
  • June 20, Sunday, 8am – 12pm:  Work from the Pine Trailhead. Led and lunch provided by Jim & Windy. Bring own water.
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Farm Dinner and Market 2012

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Trails in the Fuel Break

In the Pine Strawberry area, many of the current trail configurations in the Tonto National Forest are primarily a result of historic social usage.  Many of these trails follow old routes from ranching or timber operations, fire suppression, or animals.  Most were never specifically designed for long-term sustainable recreational use, and as a result they require high levels of maintenance, do not fully protect environmental resources, and fail to provide optimal user experiences.  Existing trail characteristics in the area virtually preclude mountain bike use and make for difficult hiking in some areas.

Many of the trails in this area suffer from poor design, including extensive use of high water bars and steep grades, and experience tremendous erosion each time a rain or snow event occurs.  Because the trail system does not meet many user’s needs or expectations, many have abandoned the designated trails and created a system of social trails.  This increases the environmental damage to the forest and raises maintenance costs.  The Tonto National Forest’s ability to maintain these unsustainable trails is severely limited by funding and manpower.

As a nonprofit community organization formed for the purpose of promoting wildfire mitigation efforts, our goal with this trails project is to increase the value of the Fuel Break surrounding Pine and Strawberry by adding a recreational component, making it more likely the USFS will make maintaining it a funding priority.  It will also serve the purpose of helping to keep the natural growth of vegetation to safe levels in this area of protection around our community by allowing easier access for maintenance work inside the Fuel Break, thus increasing our protection from potentially catastrophic wildfire.

This project would have an additional impact.  In addition to the fire prevention benefits, a trail system could have a tremendous economic impact for the communities of Pine and Strawberry.  Trails are a relatively low-cost investment compared to other infrastructure improvements, and generally have broad public and community support.  The Pine Strawberry area offers great opportunities for mountain biking, and developing new trails oriented towards this sport in addition to improving existing trails has the potential to revitalize the area and help spur economic development in the private sector.

The master plan for Phase One of the project has submitted to the US Forest Service for approval includes an addition to and redesign of the existing system, resulting in approximately 20 miles of sustainable trails; adding new trails that meet the user’s needs, while also protecting the environment and requiring limited maintenance.  Environmental and aesthetic impacts in this plan have been managed by the proposed closure of unsustainable sections.  These areas will be reclaimed with transplanted native vegetation to conceal the old corridor. 

Junction of new trail with TR 26

Junction of new trail with TR 26

After three long years the Forest Service has completed all the environmental studies and given us the green light to begin construction on 8 miles of new trail from behind Camp Lo Mia to the Strawberry Trailhead. The start of this project came about several years ago as a result of a project PSFR did seeding the fuel break with native grass in order to create a low intensity fuel that can be burned off every few years, clearing the fuel break of new chaparral growth and eliminating the need for the expensive hand crews to do the mechanical clearing. 

While out there casting seed we saw that the section behind the neighborhoods on the north side of Pine was very hard to get to because there is very limited access and steep terrain.  It’s also more difficult for the Forest Service to maintain that portion of the fuel break.  So the idea of putting in a new trail was born. 

We partnered with the Northern Gila County Economic Development Corporation (NGCED) and the Mountain Bike Association of Arizona (MBAA) on this project.  MBAA provided a grant to hire an experienced trail designer Southwest Trail Solutions and NGCED plans to contribute to construction costs. 

While this trail was originally planned by PSFR as a fire mitigation measure — allowing better access to the fuel break in that area for maintenance thereby reducing the type of vegetation prone to carrying fire — the Forest Service also cited the benefits of the trail as a wildlife corridor and a fire line.  Many other organizations are involved in the project from the recreation standpoint, but the main purpose of this as far as we’re concerned is wildfire mitigation.  This project should make not only the neighborhoods there safer, but the entire area.

We’ve applied for grants for some of the construction and we’ll use volunteers for other sections of the new trail.  The Forest Service is requiring that people wishing to work on the project as Crew Leaders attend recognized trainings (which would be pretty interesting even if they weren’t required!) unless they have previous trail building experience. 

PSFR hosted an IMBA Trail Building School on Oct 6-7, 2012 in Pine at the Community Center (see event info).  Then an Arizona Trail Training Session took place at the Pine Community Center on Saturday Oct 27, 2012. 

See Our Tail Work Updates for the latest projects and information on how you can be a part of the ongoing progress.

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First Fuel Bank Project

Fuel Break Progress Map

Fuel Break Progress Map

This was the first project The Pine Strawberry Fuels Reduction Committee took on.  The Committee, consisting of Mike Brandt, Al Christianer, Mark Fumusa, Tom Hadley, Clark Helmkamp, Sherry Machemer, Andy Ooms, Christy Powers, Walt Smith, Toni Sorel, Arvid Thompson and David Ward, developed and spearheaded this project to fund maintenance of the fuel break on Forest Service land surrounding the communities of Pine and Strawberry.  

The project was urgent and the federal government did not have the funds to do it.  The goal was to raise $50,000 through a mailing to the community.  In a little over a week in excess of the $50,000.00 was raised entirely through community donations.  Private donations eventually exceeded $80,000.00.  An additional $50,000.00 was made available for this project by Gila County.

The fuel break is a 380 foot wide and 711 acre area which has been cleared of the low brush that provides highly volatile fuels for a wildland fire. The purpose of the fuel break is to slow, turn and to bring to the ground a raging crown fire.  A healthy ecosystem has fewer trees and ladder fuels, thus reducing the fire intensity. The ultimate purpose of an effective fuel break is to prevent a major wildland fire from burning into Pine or Strawberry, potentially destroy many homes in the process.

Fuel breaks have proven to be successful in slowing and or turning fires at community boundaries.  The fuel break not only provided these communities with the wildfire protection that it desperately needed, but it also was cited on a national level and called the best example of community/agency cooperation in the country. This is an example of the value of educating the public and building support through community spirit.

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Fuel Break Seeding

The fuel break that surrounds Pine and Strawberry is in constant need of mechanical clearing to keep it an effective tool for combating a fire either entering or leaving the community. 

This constant clearing is not cost effective nor does it accomplish the restoration of the native ecosystem that is truly the answer in safeguarding ourselves from wildfire.  If we can provide a fine fuel that can be burned on a regular basis we can fight fire with fire in the way nature intended.

seeding-fuel-break

The objective of re-seeding is to return natural grass vegetation to the now open area that was previously choked out by thick low brush, such as Manzanita and small trees. The grass will bring beauty to the forest, prevent erosion, and provide abundant natural grazing for deer and elk. Once the initial re-seeding takes hold, expansion of the grasses will continue with each spring’s growth; the idea being to turn the fuel break and cleared areas back into a healthy ecosystem with fire playing an important role.  Using the grass as a low intensity fuel we will be able to burn off the fire break every few years clearing it of new chaparral growth eliminating the need for the expensive hand crews to do the mechanical clearing. 

This $35,000 project was completely funded by the communities of Pine and Strawberry through donated funds to the Pine Strawberry Fuel Reduction Committee.

Seed selection was determined by recommendations from Gila County and the Forest Service:

  • The larger mix of seed is the Slender Wheatgrass (32%) is a bunch grass that grows to a height of one to two and a half feet. It is typically found at the 6,000 – 13,500 foot levels in western states. It is considered excellent forage grass for cattle, sheep, elk, and deer. It is also valuable to many forms of smaller mammals and upland game birds as well as song birds.
  • Next is Western Wheatgrass (25%), which has similar qualities as the Slender Wheatgrass. In addition to good forage for elk and deer, Western Wheatgrass also has excellent qualities in erosion control. It is naturally found between the 3,500 – 10,500 foot levels.  
  • Also included is Mountain Brome (22%) which is also a bunch grass. It normally ranges between the 5,000 – 13,000 foot levels. It is also an excellent grazing plant for livestock, elk and deer. It has good erosion control qualities.
  • The next group of seed mix includes Sideoats Grama and Blue Grama (11%). They are important range grasses and are found in mountain ranges up to 10,000 feet and thrive in sparse woodlands and forest openings.
  • The remainder of the seed mix contains White Prairie Clover, Yellow Prairie Coneflower, and Lewis Blue Flax. All are naturally found in woodlands similar to the Pine-Strawberry area.

Given a few years, our communities will benefit from a broad scattering of these grasses, bringing beauty to the forest floor and an additional food source for the wildlife.

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Pine Community Center Ramada

The new Ramada at the Pine Community Center was built through partnerships in this community as well as in both the state and the county.  This Pine/Strawberry Fuel Reduction committee secured the necessary funding to replace the 35 year-old small ramada that was already in place. 

new-ramada

The new ramada was constructed using small diameter wood from surrounding forests to show a practical application for the forest products that surround us.  This project is a clear example of what can be accomplished by building partnerships on local and regional levels.

people-ramada

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Protect Your Property From Wildfires CD

protect-fire-cd-coverA wildfire safety informational CD, Protect Your Property from Wildfires,  was developed in cooperation with the Pine Strawberry Fire District and distributed to residents and property owners through a mass mailing.  

This was accomplished by enlisting financial support from Arizona Public Service, State Farm Insurance, Gila County (with assistance from Supervisor Tommie Martin), Qwest Communications and the Pine Action Committee and with educational content from the US Forest Service, Arizona State Land Department, Arizona Fish and Game Department, the University of Arizona and others.  

This adult education CD could not have been created without a tremendous amount of community and inter agency cooperation.

The original wildfire prevention CDs that were produced to educate the property owners had been handed out until supplies were depleted.  Pine Strawberry Fuel Reduction, Inc. had them reprinted to be distributed as an educational tool.

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Help Bring Back The Brush Pick-Up Program

THE PINE/STRAWBERRY FUEL REDUCTION COMMITTEE NEEDS YOUR HELP TO BRING BACK A BRUSH PICK UP PROGRAM!

Pine/Strawberry Fuel Reduction, Inc. is starting a donation drive to raise the money necessary to bring back a brush pick up program.  Grants for this type of program are no longer available.  If successful, P/SFR will team with the Pine-Strawberry Fire Department and their brush pick up equipment to reinstate this vital program for our communities. 

We know that reducing the fuel load on our properties is a major factor in reducing the catastrophic wild fires we’ve seen in our state and other western states.  The previous brush pick up program allowed the Pine and Strawberry communities a way to remove the brush and needle/leaf litter that accumulates each year on our properties.  With the pick-up program the last several years, our residents rolled up their sleeves and thinned tons of fuel from our two communities. 

We need to bring a brush pick up program back.Our goal is to raise $60,000 to fund the program.  Your donation will help this effort.  Here’s how to donate:

  • Use one of the two PayPal donation buttons on the right of this page The DONATE button will allow you to make a single donation of any amount using your credit card or PayPal account. The SUBSCRIBE button will allow you to make a monthly donation of various amounts starting with as little as $5 per month.
  • Mail us a check payable to Pine/Strawberry Fuel Reduction, Inc. and send to:
    P/S Fuel Reduction
    P.O. Box 67, 
    Pine, AZ  85544

    For updates on fuel reduction activities and brush pick up scheduling, include your email address.  We will not share your email address with any other agency or individual.

If you have questions or comments, please use our “Contact Us” page or call our Hotline at 928-970-0713.

Let’s make this work!