PEEPLES VALLEY, AZ (3TV/CBS 5) -- Firefighters with Peeples Valley Fire District, which is just north of Yarnell, are helping homeowners prepare their homes as Arizona heads into fire season under drought conditions.
"Hazardous fuels are all over; it's native to this area. Some of it is not native. But by reducing that fuel, it gives the opportunity for time to protect that property," said Chief Shawn Bomar with Peeples Valley Fire District.
They're sending out crews of firefighters to clear brush around houses, ensuring they'll be easier to defend in a wildfire. The service costs $700 a day, but fire officials say it's worth the investment. Peeples Valley Fire District provides a letter homeowners can send to their insurance company to prove they're proactive on fire protection. A house with ample defensible space can also mean all the difference during a wildfire.
"All firefighters will come in and look and say, 'We can save that property, or we can put the effort into trying to save that property,'" Bomar said. "Or, it's a tough term to use, but that's a 'loser,' we're not going to spend the time. We could go save two versus one. So that choice has to be made when the wildfire is in the area."
The area has had two notable fires in the past eight years. First, the tragic Yarnell Hill Fire that happened back in 2013, then the Tenderfoot Fire in 2015.
With so many people now moving into areas that were once completely rural, firefighters say it's the responsibility of people living there to make their properties fire safe.
"It's well worth the investment. These young professionals work really hard, and they can do far more clearing than I could do in months or years," said Dr. Grey Stafford, who called in the fire crew to clear his yard Friday.
If you live in the Peeples Valley Fire District and you're interested in clearing the area around your home, you can find more info on how to reach out on the department's Facebook page.