Castle Valley Comments
July 11, 2013
by Ron Drake
Jul 11, 2013 | 702 views | 0 0 comments | 25 25 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Michael Ford Dunton welcomes well-wishers during an open house of his art studio last week in Castle Valley. 
Photo by Ron Drake
Michael Ford Dunton welcomes well-wishers during an open house of his art studio last week in Castle Valley. Photo by Ron Drake
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It seems that the Castle Valley community will be having an election in November after all, with the recent new filing for the mayor’s position on the town council.

Last week, Oscar Duncan filed with the Castle Valley Town Clerk as a write-in candidate for the mayor’s position. He said that he just couldn’t let Mayor Dave Erley, who was previously running unopposed for another term, run without some opposition. Duncan said he feels optimistic about his chances to unseat Erley in his bid for a second term as mayor.

Duncan’s name will not appear on the ballot since the deadline to file in the regular filing period expired June 6, but people can still file as write-in candidates until Sept. 6. Two people filed for positions on the Castle Valley Town Council, including Duncan’s sister, Jazmine, who filed for a four-year position, and Tory Hill, who filed for a two-year council term. There is still one unclaimed seat remaining on the town council that will have to be filled by appointment if no one files for it by the Sept. 6 deadline.

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Friends and supporters of artist Michael Ford Dunton filed into his Castle Valley studio during an open house last Saturday, July 6. He invited everyone to view his new studio and workshop, which replaced his former space that was destroyed by fire last year.

Many people toured the building and observed the many art pieces that were on display in the spacious building as they visited with Dunton and one another during the open house that lasted well into the evening.

As a respected artist, Dunton uses natural materials, including metal, stainless steel, marble and sandstone, combined with a vision and flair to create beautiful art pieces for home or business. His art can also be seen in parks and street corners in Colorado and Utah.

***

As we mourn the 19 members of the Prescott Fire Department who died in the Yarnell Hill Fire it once again demonstrates the dangers of living in the Wildland Urban Interface (WUI). Recently, Dan Bailey, president of the International Association of Wildland Fire, said that 120 million people are living in 46 million homes across 70,000 U.S. communities at high risk for wildfires. In 2012, more than 67,000 fires raged in the western U.S., burning more than 9 million acres in Colorado alone. He said a report found there were 4,244 structures lost to the fires and 36 fatalities – 18 civilians, 18 first responders – with a cost of fighting fires estimated at $2.9 billion.

Wildfires are becoming more severe and more expensive for three reasons: fuel build-up, climate change and home development in the wildland-urban interface (WUI). Extreme heat, severe drought conditions and high-wind storms worsen the wildfire scenario. Those who build homes in the interface are designing increasingly larger homes in densely forested areas, expanding the wildland-urban interface.

“Many people living in WUI areas are not taking personal responsibility for their decision to call the WUI home,” Bailey said. “If we are to make progress, we have to focus on it. It’s not just a government problem – it is a shared problem that the homeowners have to engage in.”

The report also says that wildland firefighting was treated like a distant cousin to structure firefighting. It had different tools and equipment, apparatus and tactics that were a far cry from structural firefighting equipment and tactics. However, slowly the door of understanding has opened, as rural and suburban fire departments are responding to house fires in wildland areas, and wildland firefighters are encountering small mansions tucked in the forest.

The Castle Valley Fire Department has always had to be ready to respond to both wildland and structural fires and has had to have both types of apparatus, equipment and personal protection equipment. We are in the wildland-urban interface as described by the report and we need to be vigilant in protecting our homes and property from wildfires.

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