Pine Strawberry Fuel Reduction participated in the development of the initial brush pick-up program as an advisory committee to the Pine Strawberry Fire District. PSFR applied for the government grant and provided administrative support within the community. The brush pick up program allowed all members of the community to make practical use of the Wildland Urban Interface grants available through Arizona State Forestry. It was designed so that the average property owner could do Firewise work on their property and not have to make, and pay for, all the trips to the landfill or brush pit. Those residents without the means to haul cut brush just piled the debris beside the road in front of their property and the fuels truck would pick it up on a rotating schedule. During 2009, due to the perfect storm of circumstances, the pickup fell behind and the community was faced with an ever growing number of brush piles all over town. PSFR, being bombarded with calls from the public, used money from private donations to hire a private contractor to haul 41 tons of brush off the side of the road to help get the brush pick up back on schedule.
In 2013 the brush pick-up program, as operated by the fire district, came to a halt because the grants that had been funding the program were no longer available. State Forestry at that time declined to fund maintenance on property that had already been treated through one of their grants in the past, and since there was no efficient way to determine where the brush for pickup originated, funding was halted. In December of 2013 PSFR began a fundraiser to help bring back a brush pick-up program using the same equipment that had been originally purchased for the program through Federal grants. Local fundraising in the private sector was successful enough to allow PSFR to continue to provide this service as an annual community pickup for the next two years. It removed an average of more than 17 tons of brush, needles, etc. in each week of operation and greatly contributed to overall wildfire safety. However, after major equipment failure and a shortfall in fundraising the fire district sold the equipment, effectively ending the brush pick-up program.
Educating the public and providing them with the motivation to continue Firewising their property on their own is one of the key methods to a sustainable fuels reduction program. The brush pickup program in Pine Strawberry was one of the most effective and successful tools that the community had in place to do just that.