FLAGSTAFF—As Coconino County has moved into heightened fire danger season and into greater fire related restrictions, the Coconino County Sheriff’s Office, Flagstaff Police Department, and the US Forest Service are offering “Woods Watch” training and orientation. This volunteer program is similar to Neighborhood Watch and is of vital importance in residential areas that interface with forested land. Volunteers are asked to watch for people accessing closed areas of the forest and for people who are using fire carelessly or against current fire restrictions. These volunteers are trained to be especially vigilant for activity that may be occurring on forested lands in the Flagstaff City limits, unincorporated areas of Coconino County, and on US Forest Service land.
Woods Watch has been very successful in years past. In 2002, approximately 300 volunteers attended the training and assisted Northern Arizona law enforcement officers in watching access points to the forest. Teams of volunteers were trained in the greater Flagstaff area, Mormon Lake, Munds Park and other unincorporated areas of Coconino County. The additional sets of eyes on our community helped keep unlawful fire activity under check. With the extremely dry and windy conditions our community experiences, a fire start may spread very quickly endangering lives and property.
This year, we are offering Woods Watch re-certification and new volunteer training on Friday, June 28, 2013 at 6:00 pm at the Law Enforcement Administration Facility located at 911 E. Sawmill Rd. Citizens who have attended this training in previous years are asked to attend again as a review and to receive updated information. Coconino County Sheriff’s Office also will be providing Woods Watch training to its established volunteer groups of Search and Rescue, existing Neighborhood Watch Programs, and CERT during their regular meetings. The training takes approximately one hour.
The Woods Watch Program area a commitment to join local law enforcement officers with community members to keep our communities and our forests beautiful, safe and free of wild land fires.