CURRENT NEWS . . .
Chuck Smallhouse – "It is with deep sadness that we announce the passing of Oracle Fire Board member Chuck Smallhouse. Chuck was an active member of the Oracle CERT program and he was elected as a Fire Board member in November 2014. He will be missed by all." – Fire Chief, Larry Southard
TIMBERLINE FIRE – On May 26th, Engine 691 responded to a report of a vehicle fire on Timberline Drive. Upon arrival, an RV pickup/ camper was fully involved in flames. Firefighters quickly extinguished the fire. At this time, the cause of the fire is unknown. No injuries were reported and no other property was damaged.
ARCING WIRES IN ORACLE – Near the end of a Century plants life cycle, it will grow a large stem from the center that can reach heights of 20 to 30 feet. The one shown in the picture is a typical plant, however it just happened to grow directly underneath of a high voltage power line. As the stem got within an inch or so of the power line it developed an electrical arc that could be seen and heard for quite a distance. Engine 692 responded to a 911 call for "Arcing Wires" and remained on scene until the electrical company could safely saw the stem away from the power line.
Don't be the spark for the next wildfire in southern Arizona –
With two wildfires burning in southern Arizona, fire crews urge anyone planning to spend time outdoors for Memorial Day Weekend to take extra care of their fires and campgrounds. Read the full story at Tucson News Now.
Fire officials ask that anyone camping, cooking or spending time outside pay attention to their surroundings. Tips for fire prevention can be found here: wildlandfire.az.gov
FIREFIGHTER OF THE YEAR – Captain Paul Farrell was presented with the Oracle Firefighter of the Year award during the May Fire Board meeting. Captain Farrell has been employed as a full time firefighter for the past seven years and this is the second time he has received our highest award. Paul's wife and children were in the audience to watch Chief Southard and Chief Jennings present him with a plaque.
FIRE IN ORACLE DURING STORM – During the thunder storm on the afternoon of Monday, May 4th, we responded to a lightning-caused fire near Oracle State Park. Accessing the location of the fire was a little difficult. When our firefighters were able to reach the fire they discovered that the rain had apparently stopped the flames from spreading. Damage was limited to one small area centered around a single smoldering tree that was quickly cut down and extinguished. The fire in itself was not unusual, however it is interesting to note how hot the fire burned during a fairly heavy rain event. If this same situation had occurred during a non-rain event, such as the "dry lightning" storms that often lead up to our monsoon; the outcome could have been a much different situation.
This was the 4th grass/brush fire we've responded to in the past few months . . . and we haven't quite reached our normal fire season which is typically mid-May to mid-July. The grasses right now are tall and thick, however they will soon become dry and extremely flammable. If you haven't created (or maintained) your defensible space, now is certainly the time to get it done. Our trained Firewise Evaluators are always more than glad to visit your property and provide you with helpful suggestions on how you can make your home safer during a wildfire. – Fire Chief Larry Southard
What is a Red Flag Warning? – According to the National Weather Service, a Red Flag Warning is issued when a "combination of low humidity, strong winds, dry ground cover, and warm temperatures are expected to bring critical fire weather conditions to the warned area."
SMOKEY SAYS FIRE STATUS IS NOW AT HIGH!! BURN PERMITS HAVE BEEN SUSPENDED IN ORACLE. Please be careful out there; we recently had a small brush fire on Estill north of Grant that was caught quickly. There are three ways a spark can usually cause these brush fires: 1. from a thrown out cigarette 2. from sparks on a vehicle's dragging chain and 3. from a vehicle's hot catalytic converter contacting grass or other flammable ground source. Be aware – a single spark is all it takes!
2015 WILDFIRE TRAINING EXERCISES – On Saturday, March 21, Oracle welcomed several Fire Depts., Red Cross, Pinal County Sherriff's office, and several government fire agencies (AZ State Forestry, US Forest Service, BLM) for training exercises most of the day at Mountain Vista School to be prepared for wildfires. Our own OFD Firewise Board and CERTs were assisting all day.
The community visited Smokey Bear and learned about being firewise at the Firewise trailer located next to the Oracle Inn.
NEW BRUSH DUMP FEES – We will be increasing some
of our fees for the Oracle Brush Dump starting in 2015
• One Load: $3.00 • Two Loads: (truckbed plus trailer) $5.00 • Commercial-size load: (dump truck) $10.00.
Remember, items gladly accepted are: tree trimmings and brush. Items NOT accepted are: cactus, garbage, lumber, stumps, paper,
plastics, metal, fluids and site cleaning material. We are open all day, every day!
MASTICATION MACHINE – The Arizona Department of Forestry worked on a brush-thinning project along the west end of Oracle. The 3-mile long project was partially completed by hand crews using chain saws and then placed the cut materials into piles. Those piles were shredded by a mastication machine as shown in these pictures. The mastication machine will be used in places where getting the chipper close enough to the cut material is not feasible. Several upcoming projects will be completed in this same way.
Oracle’s Latest Homeowners’ Fuel Reduction Program– If you live in Oracle, own your home, live on one acre or more and are plagued by dense, fire-prone vegetation around your house, you may qualify for a new, cost-free, fuel reduction program being administered by the Oracle Fire Department and the Oracle Firewise Board.
The purpose of this grant is to create a vital buffer perimeter around Oracle that may slow the progress of any future wild fires threatening the community. The focus will be on chipping dense brush, trimming trees and selectively cutting trees in an area limited to 200 feet around the residence. Stumps, bear grass or man-made materials will not be removed.
Applications for the cost-free program are currently available at the fire dept. or by clicking HERE. Print this application and submit it to OFD. The applicant’s property will then be inspected and evaluated by a certified Oracle Firewise Assessor and submitted to a review committee for final consideration. Contact the fire dept directly or check the latest issue of the local paper for more information.
THE ORACLE EMERGENCY NOTIFICATION SYSTEM –
Click HERE to go to the "ONE CALL NOW" form. Please be
sure to get any additional numbers in the system by filling out this form and returning it to
Oracle Fire Dept.
One Less Spark, One Less Wildfire – go to: http://www.wildlandfirersg.org/ for more information!
PROPERTY EVALUATION MAPS – NEW property evaluations by members of the Fire Dept. and the Firewise board have been conducted. Final results are not posted yet, but we will inform you when they are. In the meantime, if you would like to see the present map to see how your property was doing in 2009, click HERE to go DIRECTLY to that page.