Trusted local news leader for Williams AZ and the Grand Canyon
Mon, May 25

Letter: Being Firewise

To the editor:

The other day as I was looking through my fan mail, I ran into a card, "Be Firewise Wildfire Safety Planning." We all received this in our monthly Unisource gas bill, "How to protect your home and yourself." As I read the evacuation plan, I wondered how many people in Williams were evacuated from their homes in October on the night of the Twin Fire. When you are told to leave your home at 2 a.m. in the morning, like they say in case of Fire Ring the bell! And run like Hell! Who in the world would have had time to look for the little card, and look for a rubber band, to hang on the doorknob? "ALL OCCUPANTS have evacuated." Here is the rest of the story. To my knowledge this is the first time a fire came that close to town. Of course I don't know too much, I have only lived in Williams 75 years! Now we are looking at a very dry winter fire season.

Would you believe on Thanksgiving Day, 1967, in the morning about 3 a.m., all the people that lived on Fifth and Sixth Street, along the path of Cataract Creek below Santa Fe Dam were evacuated. It had rained so much that all the dams were full. Santa Fe Dam's "Spillway" was full of debris, logs, you name it. The water was running over the whole dam, not just the spillway. The concern of the city was that the dam would break? I think they cleaned the spillway, and we survived!

And of course the snow came on Dec. 19, about 8 ft. total downtown. I am reminded of a story an old timer told me. He was standing on the corner of Sixth Street in the early morning. It was still dark; he was smoking his cigarette under a streetlight. He heard somebody running. To his surprise, it was his "compadre". He yelled at him, but no answer. He kept on running! Next day he saw the same man. He said why didn't you stop and talk to me? He said? Would you stop if somebody were chasing you with a big pistol! I guess that applies to our Fire Evacuation.

Perico Avila


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