The Fire Marshal position is part time position of up to 20 hours worked per week. The Fire Marshal's duties include plans review, mapping and updates, addressing updates, Knox Box updates and management, inspection/self inspection programs, Burn Permit reporting to AZ Department of Environmental Quality, fire investigation, fire restrictions, Dispatch Liaison with Payson PD, ISO updates, ID card updates, Code adoption, updates, and enforcement, administration of the Residential EMS Lock Box Program, and any additional duties as assigned by the Fire Chief. The Fire Marshal's Office is located in our main administration building at 3741 North Prince Drive; Pine, directly behind Station 41.
The current Fire Marshal, Rick Barnes, is in his 25th year in Public Safety and in his 5th year with the Pine Strawberry Fire District. He has over two decades of experience and training in investigations, including the National Fire Academy Fire and Arson Investigation program. He also has 30 years part time experience in construction, having worked in most construction specialties, and is certified as an Inspector 2 through the National Fire Protection Association.
Rick is also active on the operational side of the district as a Reserve Firefighter, EMT, and wildland Engine Boss.
The Pine-Strawberry Fire District recently adopted the 2018 International Fire Code https://codes.iccsafe.org/content/IFC2018 with some amendments, available below. Among other things, this enables us to establish and enforce fire restrictions within the District. The restriction info sheet below details what is and is not allowed during restrictions, as well as what requires a burn permit. Please familiarize yourself with this and pass it on to friends, neighbors, and family who spend time in Pine and Strawberry. We would also request that any Vrbo or Airbnb hosts within the Fire District post this information about fire restrictions in their rentals to help educate your guests. Help us keep you safe from wildland fire.
Fire Restrictions will begin Monday May 2nd, 2022 at 8:00 AM.
For complaints about weeds, brush, and other debris in yards, we recommend contacting the Gila County Code Enforcement Division as they have enforcement ability in such matters. The following links have more information about the process and a downloadable complaint form. To contact them call 928-474-9276.
There is a concerning issue in the Pine-Strawberry Fire District. Many of the roads in the district are not adequate fire apparatus access roads. They are too steep or narrow, or they lack overhead clearance or an appropriate surface, or they are hampered by any combination of these problems.
Part of the reason for this is that many roads in the district are not maintained or owned by Gila County. Many are privately owned and maintained and do not meet the requirements of the fire code as spelled out below. They were approved and built prior to the fire code being enforced in the district. The end result is that we may not be able to put sufficient apparatus on these roads to fight a fire. In certain weather conditions, we may not even be able to get an ambulance in. We simply cannot help you, no matter how much we want to, if we cannot get to you. We also risk damaging our apparatus, which have to last us many years. Another unpleasant side effect is that we cannot incur the liability of approving new construction on roads we know we cannot access unless some other measures are put in place to mitigate the potential hazards. We want to provide the service you pay for, but we need your help.
Our fire attack lines are 200 feet long. They can be extended, but that adds a great deal of time to our response before we can actually put out the fire. For that reason, structures should be within 150 feet of a fire apparatus access road because that still leaves us 50 feet of our attack line to fight the fire. Fire apparatus access roads are roads which provide access to multiple buildings and must extend to within 150 feet of the buildings, unless an approved driveway bridges the gap to a single one or two family residence. We do have a separate provision in our code that allows these driveways, which, again, only serve a single one or two family residence, to be 14 feet wide, but all other requirements are the same.
Fire trucks are tall with lights, antennae, ladders, hose, and other equipment on top. They are also wide and need room on the sides to allow for hose, portable water tanks, and other equipment to be laid out. The Pine-Strawberry Fire Code, which incorporates the 2018 International Fire Code, states in Section 503.2.1 that, “Fire apparatus access roads shall have an unobstructed width of not less than 20 feet… and an unobstructed vertical clearance of not less than 13 feet 6 inches.” It is understandable that there may be small choke points like narrow bridges and gates, but the majority of the road needs to meet these requirements. Understand, too, that the width is not just for our apparatus but also allows for people to evacuate the area of a fire or other incident. And one low hanging branch can do thousands of dollars of damage to equipment and potentially put a truck out of service.
Fire trucks are also heavy with larger water tenders weighing as much as 60,000 pounds. Section 503.2.3 of the fire code states that, “Fire apparatus access roads shall be designed and maintained to support the imposed loads of fire apparatus and shall be surfaced so as to provide all-weather driving capabilities.” Water weighs just over 8 pounds per gallon, and we take lots of water to fires because we need it. A large structure fire in just one building may take more than 10,000 gallons of water to attain full suppression. Roads need to be, at a minimum, hard packed with a decomposed granite or gravel surface to allow for travel in snow and rain. Consider, too, that we create our own muddy roads when we fight fires. Culverts also need to be capable of handling the weight of a large fire truck, as well. If an engine or water tender slides into a ditch or crushes a culvert, not only is it not helping, but it may block other apparatus, as well.
Finally, fire trucks are long, with our current longest water tender reaching 35 feet. We do not currently have a ladder truck, but there is one in our mutual aid area, and they are even longer. For this reason, the fire code includes other requirements for grade, angle of approach and departure, turning radius, and turnarounds which leave much to the discretion of the district. We have not established hard numbers for these requirements as we usually simply test the road with our bigger apparatus.
Just so you know, the picture of a truck stuck in the mud above is a random image from the internet. The reality is that many of our roads are even narrower and muddier than that.
Easements exist on most of these private roads to provide for adequate fire apparatus access, but the roads were never fully built out. If you live or own property on one of these roads, we strongly encourage you to talk to your neighbors and work on improving access. Many of these issues can be mitigated by simply removing some trees and brush. We understand that widening and surfacing roads can be expensive, but we encourage you to try to get your neighbors on board and potentially share costs. We also understand fully that these are not issues that can be remedied overnight. It is said though, that in order to eat an elephant you have to do it one bite at a time. A little work and funding spread out over time will get the job done.
If you have questions about your road, please call us at (928) 476-4272 and ask for the Fire Marshal. We are more than willing to come assess your road and make suggestions. We are also willing to attend any meetings of groups of neighbors to explain the issue and offer suggestions. Please help us keep you safe.
The Insurance Services Office https://www.verisk.com/insurance/brands/iso/ evaluates fire service organizations throughout the nation and ranks them based upon their training, personnel, apparatus, and many other indicators. They then rank the organizations with a rating from 1-10, with 1 being the best rating. This process is repeated every 5 years. Insurance companies then base their rates for home insurance on these rankings.
The Pine-Strawberry Fire District's latest rating was effective March 1, 2021. All of the Pine-Strawberry Fire District, with the exception of Arrowhead Estates, is rated at 4. Arrowhead Estates, due to being more than 5 road miles from a fire station, is rated at 10. The downloads below are the entire survey and the letter designating our rating.
The Pine Strawberry Fire District does not issue permits for blasting, but we do have a checklist of requirements. Download it below as a fillable PDF. It can be emailed to email@example.com or brought by the office at 3741 North Prince Drive; Pine, right behind Station 41. Please ensure that we have a completed checklist prior to performing any blasting within the district.