Message From The Fire Chief
Welcome to the Green Valley Fire District, and thank you for visiting our website. We welcome your interest and encourage you to contact us should you need additional information or have any questions or concerns.
As the Fire Chief, I am honored to serve alongside an outstanding group of men and women who are truly dedicated to providing excellent emergency, non-emergency, prevention, public education, and community services to our communities. Our organization values the relationship we have with our communities and works hard to ensure we don’t violate the trust or confidence you have placed in us.
As our customer, we strive to exceed your expectations with every encounter we have. Your input is important to our success, and we value your feedback. My contact information is listed below. Please let me know when we exceed your expectations, or if you have suggestions on how we can continue to improve our service delivery.
I hope you find our website informative and encourage you to check back frequently as we work to keep our communities up to date on our activities and services.
Chuck Wunder, MSL, EFO, CFO
The Sawmill Fire, which was sparked by an off-duty target-shooting U.S. Border Patrol agent Sunday, has expanded at 46,954 acres. However, it’s now 40 percent contained, officials said.
According to the Arizona Department of Forestry and Fire Management, the plan today is for firefighters to patrol the area west of State Route 83 and continue direct suppression east of of the highway.
Eight hundred firefighters – up from 600 Thursday afternoon – are working on the blaze, which originated on the western slope of the Santa Rita Mountains, but quickly spread down the eastern side, jumping State Route 83. The highway was closed Monday, but the state Department of Transportation announced Thursday afternoon that it had reopened the route between I-10 to Sonoita.
Pre-evacuation orders remain in place for the Hilton Ranch and J-Six areas because high winds are expected to continue through Saturday. As of Thursday night, the fire was six miles from J-Six, which is west of Benson.
Bobbie Young, administrator of the historic Empire Ranch in Sonoita, said while land had been burned in the fire, structures on the property were “relatively untouched.” However, the ranch will not know the extent of the damage until its safe to re-enter the area, she said.
“We do know the buildings are safe, which to those of us who care about the Ranch is a huge relief,” Young said.
Last night, Jay Lusher, operations branch director with the Type 1 Incident Management Team told residents who gathered for a briefing at Community Bible Church of fJ-Six Ranch Road near Benson that aircraft suppression efforts Thursday were effective on the eastern edge of the fire, Lusher explained.
“We were able to deploy aircraft this morning to suppress some activity and start to contain that area of the fire and we were able to hold that section of fire throughout the entire wind event today,” said Lusher. That comment drew hoots and hollers from the audience.
“We do have a large portion of the fire line that is uncontained but we do have firefighters on every section of the fire,” said Lusher. “We are still concerned about the wind event, so we’re going to keep a large contingent of resources on the fire and additional resources in other areas.”
Crews and resources would be readily available to respond should fire spread outside the containment lines, he said. “We’re looking forward to seeing how we get through the wind event and once we do that we’ll be able to show more containment.”
A second briefing will be held Friday night at 7 p.m in the Multi Purpose Room at Benson High School, 360 S. Patagonia St.
The Tucson Sector of the U.S. Border Patrol confirmed Thursday that the investigation into the Sawmill Fire involves an off-duty agent.
An email to the Green Valley News from the sector’s public affairs office said, “We are aware that the Sawmill fire investigation involves an off-duty Tucson Sector Border Patrol agent. The agent was involved in recreational shooting and immediately reported the fire after it begun. All questions regarding the investigation should be directed to the state fire agency.”
Cosme Lopez, a public information officer with the U.S. Attorney’s Office, could not confirm reports this morning that the U.S. Attorney’s Office is reviewing a case against the border patrol agent.
Unexpected visitor? Who you going to call?
The arrival of warm spring weather not only brings us out of our homes, it also brings out critters normally in hibernation during the winter season. I am referring to “desert pests.” For the purpose of this discussion we will be talking about snakes and Gila Monsters. The chances of an encounter with one of these creatures has now been increased.
Should you find one of these creatures on your property and wish to have it removed, you can call the Green Valley Fire District non-emergency phone number, (520) 629-9200. It is not necessary to call 911. GVFD or Fire Corps personnel will be dispatched to your location.
In order to assist our personnel, please try to keep track of the creature’s location. If there is another person available have them keep the creature in sight while you make the call.
A few points to keep in mind:
- Snakes are most active during nighttime, early morning, and early evening. They cannot tolerate the daytime heat and will seek shaded locations (like under a bush, cactus, or the barbecue grill on your patio.)
- If you venture out after dark, it is highly recommended you carry a flashlight.
- All snakes will bite if agitated or handled. Do not think that you can determine the state of mind of a snake or Gila Monster simply by observing it’s behavior on the ground.
- There are only two venomous snakes in our area – Rattlesnakes (all species) and the Sonoran Coral Snake (rarely encountered.)
If you are bitten by any snake/Gila Monster, call 911. There is NO home treatment that you should attempt.
- Even a bite by a non-venomous snake contains bacteria that can result in an infection. DO NOT try to cut into a rattlesnake bite and “suck” the venom out or apply a tourniquet above the bite.
- Only a doctor can assess a rattlesnake bite and administer the anti-venom if required.
- Avoid moving the bitten area as much as possible, and remain calm. Remove any tight clothing or jewelry.
We have been co-existing with these interesting creatures for hundreds of years and with a little caution and common sense we can happily continue to do so.
Concerned about brush, grass or forest fires where you live?
Find tips and tools here to make your home and neighborhood safer from wildland fire.
Since 2002, The Firewise Communities/USA Recognition Program has empowered neighbors to work together in reducing their wildfire risk. Join the growing network of more than 1300 recognized Firewise communities from across the nation taking action and ownership in preparing and protecting their homes against the threat of wildfire.
Using a five-step process, communities develop an action plan that guides their residential risk reduction activities, while engaging and encouraging their neighbors to become active participants in building a safer place to live. Neighborhoods throughout the United States are embracing the benefits of becoming a recognized Firewise Community – and you can too!
Come Join Our Fire Corps Team
Are you looking for something fun to do while helping your fellow Green Valley neighbors stay safe in their homes? Well Fire Corps may be just what you’re looking for!
The continued growth of our wildly successful; smoke alarm and battery replacement programs, rapid entry lock-box installation, desert pest relocation, administrative support for the Fire District, and community fall prevention services have created the need to find more men and women volunteers.
Fire Corps volunteers provide non-emergency support to the Green Valley Fire District saving GVFD over $200,000 each year and have a great time doing it.
Volunteers receive extensive classroom and field training in all functions. There are positions available that will cater to your specific interests and skills. Join our outstanding cadre of friendly, community minded volunteers and help keep Green Valley safe.
To join, call the Green Valley Fire District Community Services Division at 520-625 9438. We would like to talk to you!