Mountain fire department collects and burns

A fuel-reduction program designed to prevent forest fire is available to property owners in the Pinion Pine subdivision of the Hualapai Mountains.

Pinion Pine fire Chief Joe Jackson came up with the idea last spring.

Property owners can clear dead trees, branches and other brush from around their homes, and Pinion Pine firefighters will haul the vegetation away.

For some residents, such as the elderly, firefighters using chain saws will clear and haul the debris, Jackson said.

The fire department will not haul away lumber or other household trash.

Only naturally grown vegetation will be removed.

"It's a benefit to us as well as to the homeowner if there is a major fire," Jackson said.

"If they try to burn it themselves that might create even more problems."

Jackson also said some mountain residents might not haul their vegetation to the county dump because of the distance or the cost.

This winter, the fire department has collected vegetation from about 25 property owners and hauled it to its proposed station No.

2 site off D.W.

Ranch Road near Interstate 40.

The 1- acre site has been cleared and scraped.

About 22 acres of neighboring private land have been cleared, Jackson said.

Every couple of weeks during the winter, as the limbs and branches pile up, firefighters will burn the debris, which includes shrub oak and pinion.

Even if property owners do not want to remove trees close to their homes, they should leave adequate clearance between low lying brush and structures, Jackson said.

The program is open only to property owners of the Pinion Pine Fire District.

About 300 residents populate the 21-square mile district, which includes residential areas north of Interstate 40 and along parts of Hualapai Mountain Road, Jackson said.

Smoke from previous controlled burns has drawn nervous attention of residents and even neighboring fire departments.

Jackson said his department will attempt to keep the smoke from going over Interstate 40 or residential areas.

In July, two lightning-caused fires burned about 800 acres in the Hualapai Mountains.

The 420-acre Wild Cow fire came within a mile of the Pine Lake subdivision, where about 200 people live.

To the northeast, two smaller fires merged and burned 175 to 200 acres near Dean Peak just south of the Pinion Pine subdivision.

No homes were threatened by that fire.

Heavy brush, chaparral and ponderosa pine fueled the fires, which burned for a week before being contained.