Fire Dangers and Protection Still a Major Issue and Concern for Cave Creek and the Surrounding Areas
(Press release and photos by the Town of Cave Creek)
Here we are, exactly one year after the local devastation experienced from the very large and scarry East Desert Wildland Fire. This fire started late on May 19th and burned for several days impacting almost 1,500 acres of our Sonoran Desert and threatened numerous structures.
On this auspicious one-year anniversary, two very important things have happened here in the Cave Creek and the Foothills community. First, on the evening May 19th, the Whispering Hills Community at 36th Street and Carefree Highway was officially recognized by the Arizona Department of Forestry and Fire Management (DFFM) and the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) as a certified Firewise/USA Community. This is a voluntary prevention program designed for individual communities that are located within Wildland Urban Interface (WUI) areas. This program aggressively (and legally) allows the individual developments to evaluate and put into place methods that will address very important issues like establishing “defensible space,” managing the plant and fuel loads close to the properties, removing invasive weeds/flash fuels and addressing access and escape routes. What actions have you taken and are you prepared? This residential community came together shortly after the major fires last year and aggressively took the needed steps to help protect their homes and investments. The Town of Cave Creek wants to thank them for their amazing proactive efforts and also, would like to congratulate Whispering Hills for being the first “Official Firewise/USA” recognized community within the Town limits.
The second thing of note that happened on this first-year anniversary of the East Desert Fire occurred early on the morning of Thursday, May 20th. Another wildland fire was started on the northern edge of the Town. This fire started at a construction site and began extending into the foothills of the northern mountain range. Luckily, fire crews were able to quickly respond and rapidly get this wildland incident under control, holding it to approximately one acre. If additional common factors like higher temperatures, or if there were higher wind conditions, the outcome might not have been nearly as positive. The community very easily could have experienced a repeat of what happened last May. The fire incident this morning, once again highlights how vulnerable this area is for major incidents and how quickly a wildland fire can start and spread. Currently, the Town of Cave Creek is in Stage Two Fire Restrictions. This requires any Town construction site to pull a permit and have a pre-inspection of the site before any activities that could result in producing sparks occurs. This includes, grinding, welding, metal/rebar cutting or anything that could ignite the invasive and light flash fuels that are abundant in this area. Additional Stage-Two Restrictions are related to fireworks, open flame devices, charcoal, and campfires. Please make sure to check the Town of Cave Creek’s website for a more comprehensive look at the Town’s requirements and make your site safe.
Our local community and regional fire resources need your help to prevent, identify and/or control fire incidents. Often even the little things you do can have a major impact. Remember, it can and still does happen right here in our own back yard.
You can find more information on the Town’s website: www.CaveCreekAZ.gov/FireSafety