CURRENT NEWS . . .
FLOOD WATCH IN ORACLE – Monsoons are here! Thanks for this home page photo of a microburst beyond Rice Peak just north of Oracle on July 22 by Karen Medley.
This link to NOAA takes you to their official flood warning information for our area.
PRECAUTIONARY / PREPAREDNESS ACTIONS –
Move away from recently burned areas. Life-threatening flooding of creeks, roads and normally dry arroyos is likely. The heavy rains will likely trigger rockslides, mudslides and debris flows in steep terrain, especially in and around these areas. Turn around, don`t drown when encountering flooded roads. Most flood deaths occur in vehicles.
If there is heavy rainfall over the Bighorn burn scar, residents near the scar should prepare for potential flooding impacts. Be sure to stay up to date with information from local authorities. This is a flood watch not a warning.
SAND BAGS – Pinal County Public Works is providing sandbags and sand to help shore up areas. Bring your own shovel to load the bags. There is a limit of 50 sandbags per household. The Public Works yard in Oracle is located at 1410 N. Justice Dr. just south of the Oracle Courthouse. Hours of operation are Mon-Fri, 5:30am-4pm. Sandbags can be found inside the fence behind / north of the courthouse. They are in a trash can beside a bright yellow “Sandbagger,” which is not filled. Take these bags to the west side of the Helicopter Landing Zone, where there are several big piles of sand.
Note: The flood potential does not necessarily affect everyone in Oracle, but be aware, if it doesn’t affect your personal property, it could, potentially, affect roadways that you travel.
READY, SET, GO STATUS FOR ORACLE – The evacuation threat to all of Oracle has been changed from Set-Be Alert back to the Ready state. The Ready - state means the following:
• Be aware of hazards that threaten your community.
• Create a defensible space around your home by clearing 30
to 100 feet of vegetation to protect it from fire.
• Build an emergency go kit with enough food, water and
emergency supplies for 72 hours.
• Write a family communication and evacuation plan.
NEW SUMMER NEWSLETTER – is now OUT!
You should be getting your copy in the postal mail. We also have it on this website. Click HERE to see a pdf which you can also print. It covers recent topics such as the ENS system, flooding, Ready-Set-Go and an evacuation list for reference.
LETTER FROM FIRE CHIEF JENNINGS . . . (July 10, 2020)
(This is the Chief's letter that went out in the Summer Newsletter you just received):
Dear Oracle Residents: As if things couldn’t get worse – with the COVID-19 pandemic, social distancing and mask wearing, and now, the Bighorn Fire! My hopes are that by the time you receive this newsletter in your box, the fire will be out and we will be, once again, grateful to have escaped one more major incident. However, we need to consider the aftermath of such a devastating fire: FLOODS. Following the Aspen Fire of 2003, Oracle and the High Jinks area specifically, experienced flooding which killed one resident. This was one resident too many! We need to ensure that does not happen again.
For weeks now, we have been hearing about communities being in the Ready, Set, or Go stages of evacuations. This newsletter will touch upon these concepts; however, I would like to emphasize that we should ALWAYS be in the Ready stage, especially going into the summer (aka: fire season).
Our fire season is just getting started. The threat is not over. The safety of our community is of the utmost importance to me and to the staff and volunteers of Oracle Fire District (OFD); but we need your help. Please read through this newsletter carefully, sign up for the notifications, implement as much of the flood prevention and awareness, Firewise principles, and evacuation preparedness as possible, and keep this newsletter handy as it contains a lot of useful information that you may need in the future.
Sincerely, Robert Jennings, Fire Chief,
Oracle Fire District
FRYS COMES THROUGH – OFD would like to thank Alison and her coworkers from Frys Store #42 on 22nd and Harrison in Tucson.
A fun- raising event was conducted to help out First Responders, and they chose Oracle Fire District.
They were able to raise enough money to donate 80 cases of water, a gift card for $220 and a few pies to go with it. Donations came from employees themselves along with customers.
We can not say enough about how grateful we are. With all of the negative issues surrounding us recently, this generous and uplifting gesture will go far within our community. They even delivered all these donations to the station.
When they came to the station, they brought a very special young man by the name of Kaleb. Kaleb received a station tour and tried on a few pieces of equipment. He said he wanted to be a Firefighter when he grew up; but first, he would be Spider-man. Thank you, Kaleb, Alison and the rest of the Frys crew for your kindness and generosity.
DONATION TO OFD – Special Thanks to Drew Stonecipher & ICSAVE for donation of 50 masks to OFD Staff & Volunteers to help fight the battle against COVID-19. ICSAVE is an Arizona-based charitable foundation, created by volunteer professionals from throughout the state who are united by their dedication to the prevention of traumatic events through education, preparedness training and community outreach programs. Click on this link to ICSAVE to visit their website.
BIGHORN FIRE UPDATES, MAPS, MEETINGS – Go to the inciweb/Bighorn website to see the information including updates, maps, meetings and other topics on this fire.
• THE BAER REPORT – Something that has been added to the information on inciweb, is the BAER (Burned Area Emergency Response). This is the introduction of this BAER team and what it does, but for those of us in Oracle who lived through the Aspen Fire, the importance of the aftermath of fire: FLOODS, cannot be understated. Oracle lost one of its dearest residents to one of these post-fire floods and we need to remain informed and vigilant to these dangers, as well as to other impacts of post-fire.
GETTING ALERTS – If you have not yet turned in our ENS form to be added to the OFD emergency notification system, please fill out the form, complete and either email back to OFD (Tina), fax, or bring in. Don’t forget to sign up for the Pinal County Emergency Notification System as well.
READY, SET, GO!
• Visit pima.gov/bighorn for the most up-to-date information on evacuation notices and county resources.
Wildfires are a No Drone Zone. The temporary flight restriction in place over the fire area has been expanded to account for crews working around Mt. Lemmon. Every time a drone is seen near the fire all aircraft are grounded until we can be sure the drone is clear of the area. For more information visit Know Before You Fly, http://knowbeforeyoufly.org
SUMMER PRECAUTIONS – As weather heats up, so does potential for wildfires along highways. Simple precautions can reduce chances of sparks from vehicles and trailers. Here’s how you can help cut down on sparks that start wildfires:
• Check and secure tow chains; never substitute parts when towing.
• Make sure nothing is hanging from your vehicle or trailer and dragging on the pavement.
• Check tire pressure. Exposed wheel rims can cause sparks.
• Check for worn brake pads, which can cause sparks from metal-on-metal contact.
• Don’t park in tall grass, as the heat from parts under your vehicle can start a fire.
For more information on how to prevent fires, please visit wildlandfire.az.gov
UPDATE FROM PINAL COUNTY – Suspension of Open Burn Permits. Permits to burn brush will no longer be valid as of April 28th and continue until further notice. This will continue until the summer monsoons arrive and mitigate the dual risks to public safety and public health. Learn more at pinalcountyaz.gov/AirQuality/Pages/BurnPermits
CAMPFIRE BAN IN NATIONAL FORESTS – As of April 22, fires, charcoal, grills & BBQs, coal and wood stoves are prohibited in all six Arizona national forests until June 30 or until rescinded. Click HERE to read the entire notice.
Coronado National Forest has now put Oracle fire danger status at HIGH. Please get ready for whatever comes our way this summer.
THE ORACLE EMERGENCY NOTIFICATION SYSTEM (ENS) –
You can't afford not to be on this list for emergency notifications. Click to go to the "ENS" form and be
sure to get any additional numbers (besides your landline) in the system by filling it out and returning it to
Oracle Fire District. Just drop it by the fire station.
HOME ALONE ENS SYSTEM – If you are in need of an earlier warning to evacuate due to your health or to relocate animals and livestock, you can be in a special group that gets ENS warnings ahead of the general public. Here's a LIST of evacuation information that may help you.
INTERESTED IN EVACUATION PREPARATION OR WILDFIRE STATUS? Here are some links and documents that will help you find the information you need:
• Ready, Set, Go - Information on One Less Spark, One Less Wildfire.
• How to Have a Firewise Home (606kB)
• Living with Wildfire (3.5MB)
• FEMA Evacuation Checklist (123kB)
• One Less Spark (Poster) (2MB)
• Newsletter - SUMMER
• EQUINE & LIVESTOCK EVAC PREP - Link to Video on youtube – Wildfire preparedness tips from a firefighter, veterinarian and ranch owner called "Saving the Ranch."
BRUSH DUMP OPEN! – The Oracle brush dump is now open on our regular schedule starting now
(7 days a week from 7am-5pm). The exchange of the key will now take place at the OFD front window, like a bank teller, to reduce the amount of contact between the public and our staff and volunteers.
Please ensure that you only bring vegetation to the brush dump. Construction materials, even though made of wood, are not acceptable. Our permit is for vegetation only. This brush dump is offered to the community of Oracle as a means for our residents to create defensible space around their homes and to strengthen our Firewise community. There is only one other community in southern Arizona that offers such a privilege. PLEASE help us keep the brush dump for vegetation only. All other trash, construction materials, and green cactus need to go to Waste Management.
Starting Monday, April 20, we will start collecting fees and we appreciate exact change: $3 for one load (the back of a truck or a trailer), $5 for both the back of a truck AND a trailer, $10 for a dump truck. You may pay for multiple loads if you know you’ll be making multiple trips. We do not have a cash register and cannot make change for anything over a $5 bill.
Thank you again for your patience and understanding. As a local government entity, we feel obliged to follow government recommendations but we have heard you over the last three weeks and made the decision to open back up a bit early to accommodate all of you who have been hard at work clearing brush around your properties and doing your part to make Oracle a safer place to live.
MORE INFORMATION – Would you like more useful info on wildfire?
Click HERE for News & Information, Fire Weather, Maps, WIldland Fire Data in Google Earth, Arizona Fire Ecology, WIldland Fire, Firewise Resources, Smoke and Air Quality, Info for Before, During and After a Wildfire, How to Help and Fire Prevention & Education topics. There are several excellent artlces relative under each topic you can click to at the Arizona Interagency Wildfire Prevention website.
WILDFIRE INFORMATION – There is ONE WEBSITE that has the best information on all major fires in the US. Make this a bookmark for Arizona and any other state you may want to check on. The home page takes you to the most current and largest fires. It has maps, details and updates. For all fires in one state, click at the top right, choose your state and click GO. Click HERE to go to that site or bookmark the link: http://inciweb.nwcg.gov/
What is a Red Flag Warning? – According to the National Weather Service, a Red Flag Warning is issued when a "combination of low humidity, strong winds, dry ground cover, and warm temperatures are expected to bring critical fire weather conditions to the warned area." When we have these conditions, you may see our NEW, larger red flag flying in front of the fire station. Please be vigilant and cautious especially on these days.
WHAT ARE THE RULES FOR OUTDOOR BURNING IN ORACLE?
Click HERE to find out more.
Drive Up and Take Away – On May 30, 2020, the Oracle Community Learning Garden had another Drive Up and Take Away distribution of fresh produce boxes for the tri-communities area. This was fresh produce that had been rescued and otherwise would have been sent to a landfill.
OFD Firewise and Cert volunteers helped out with the distribution by sorting and boxing produce, teardown and cleanup at the Oracle courthouse. Certs/FW/OFD worked alongside volunteers from the Community Garden (who organized it through the nonprofit Borderlands), Saddlebrooke Ranch Rotary Club, Pinal County Volunteers, Triad and the Community Center as well as Oracle residents. Oracle Community Garden ordered 200 produce boxes from the nonprofit Borderlands. There were cucumbers, zucchini, squash, tomatoes and watermelons. Thank you all! It’s wonderful to see our various community organizations coming together for the good of all!