Scottsdale Chief Tom Shannon outlines efforts
Staff Reports | Digital Free press
As the Arizona Pipeline Fire continues to garner the attention of all who call the Grand Canyon State home, the Scottsdale Fire Department is working to help reduce wildfire risk here locally.
“Scottsdale has more critical wildfire risk due to the urban interface with much of the McDowell Sonoran Preserve and other vegetation rich open space areas,” said Scottsdale Fire Chief Tom Shannon in a prepared statement earlier this month.
In recent days the Pipeline Fire has burned approximately 23,000 acres of land, officials report.
In Scottsdale, the fire department has taken a multi-pronged approach to the mitigation efforts including reducing fuels along identified roadways, deploying brush trucks in high risk areas, encouraging communities to become designated “Firewise USA,” conducting inspections in construction areas, according to a press release.
Original reported a part of the Scottsdale Update, here are measures ongoing at the Scottsdale Fire Department:
•Fuel Reduction along north Scottsdale roadways: This year, Scottsdale received a grant to reduce fire/fuels in strategically targeted areas to reduce the threat of wildfires starting, and to provide defensible spaces that can slow the spread of a fire. Attention has been focused along roadway edges in and around the Mcdowell Sonoran Preserve, state trust lands, and key alignments within the preserve that function as fuel breaks to stop or slow the forward movement of potential wildfires.
•Brush Truck Deployment: From May through September, the wildfire season watch is on and patrols to prevent them are in place. Scottsdale Fire Department has three brush trucks patrolling neighborhoods on the fringes of the desert throughout the city to help prevent or stop wildfires. Crews may also leave info on a front doorknob to remind residents to remove the brush during the dry season.
•Firewise USA Designated Communities: There are 14 completed, renewed, and/or recognized Firewise USA Communities in Scottsdale. The national recognition program provides a collaborative framework to help neighbors in a geographic area get organized, find direction, and take action to increase the ignition resistance of their homes and community and to reduce wildfire risks at the local level. Any community that meets a set of voluntary criteria on an annual basis and retains an “In Good Standing Status” may identify itself as being a Firewise site.
•Construction Inspections: Many brush fires start from sparks from chains, cutting, welding, and grinding metals, which are common on residential construction sites. With these types of activities regularly and are often adjacent to the Preserve, these quickly became the focus for targeted efforts by the Prevention Division in 2020 and continues today.
•Wildfire Ready Homes: Residents are encouraged to assist the fire department by protecting their homes from fire taking proven risk reduction steps. These include creating a 30-foot defensible safety zone by removing dry and dead vegetation around the home, keeping a garden hose connected to exterior hose bibs available for use, and being aware of potential ignition sources like fireplaces, BBQ grills, improper disposal of smoking materials and fireworks.
Chief Shannon offers, local firefighters are a part of the wildland team who participates in drills to combat any surge of a wildfire that could break out in desert areas such as the McDowell Sonoran Preserve, DC Ranch or Rio Verde.
“All residents should become aware of the “Ready, Set, Go” terminology for wildland fires and other emergencies,” Chief Shannon points out. “Being prepared and knowing what to do – especially when the ‘Go’ order is announced – is crucial.”