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For Immediate Release Contact: Gerry Blair (928) 226-5089Date: April 15, 2014____________________________________________
More than 60 Community Members Attend Woods Watch Training
Flagstaff, AZ; On Friday, April 11, 2014 at 6:00 pm more than 60 community members gathered at the Law Enforcement Administration Facility for the 2014 Woods Watch Training. As they walked from the parking lot to the building, they couldn’t help but notice the ominous massive black column of smoke that was produced by the Fisher Fire. The atmosphere was somber and it was obvious why we were there. On behalf of all the partners in the Wood Watch Program (Sheriff’s Office, Flagstaff Police Department, US Forest Service, and our area fire districts), Chief Deputy Jim Driscoll of the Coconino County Sheriff’s Office expressed appreciation for the community partnership.
The Woods Watch program is similar to Neighborhood Watch and is of vital importance in residential areas that interface with forested land. Volunteers are trained to assist local officials in watching for and properly reporting people accessing closed areas or people who are using fire carelessly or against fire restrictions, especially on forested lands. Community volunteers make a commitment to join local law enforcement officers to keep our communities and our forests beautiful, safe and free of wild land fires.
Woods Watch has been very successful in years past. In 2012, approximately 100 volunteers attended the training and assisted in watching access points to the forest. By providing additional sets of eyes in our community, Woods Watch Volunteers assist law enforcement officers in keeping unlawful fire activity under check. With the extremely dry and windy conditions our communities often experience, a fire start may spread very quickly endangering lives and property.
The Woods Watch program has over 160 individuals who will walk their neighborhoods that interface with forested land and report violations and suspicious activity. A group email list will be utilized to apprise participants of current information regarding fires restrictions, forest closures and other updates related to wildland fires. The next Woods Watch presentation will be made at the monthly Community Emergency Response Team volunteers (CERT) training on Tuesday, April 29, 2014 at 5:30 pm. For any additional questions or information, please contact Gerry Blair of the Coconino County Sheriff’s Office at 928-226-5089.
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Media and Public Contact: Gerry Blair, Coconino County Sheriff's Office, 928-226-5089