The Prescott Basin Wildland Interface Fire
The Prescott Basin Wildland Interface Fire Reduction
Project provides National Fire Plan grant dollars to the highest
risk area in Prescott, immediately south, southwest and west of
the city. The specific target is the areas immediately bordering
the Prescott National Forest and working back from that line.
Arizona State Fire Assistance (SFA)
In 2001 Prescott received $168,000 for fuels reduction
under the SFA grant program. In 2002 the city received $360,685
for a total of $528,685. Highland Pines and Timberridge subdivisions
were the highest priority for creating defensible space using SFA
The State program is designed for a 50/50 cost-share
with the homeowner, however the city and county pay the cost normally
absorbed by the homeowner. The cost to cover the 50% homeowner portion
is built in to the Prescott Fire Department and Yavapai Fire District
annual budgets and makes the program free to those who want to create
defensible space. Yavapai County Emergency Management Administers
the grant program for the Prescott Area Wildland/Urban Interface
Timberridge-a FIREWISE Community
a subdivision surrounded by Prescott National Forest, is designated
a FIREWISE community and has had great success with resident buy-in
for defensible space. Out of 417 lots with 360 property owners,
80-85% comply with FIREWISE standards. The turning point for the
community was the Indian Fire in 2002. Prior to the fire only20%
of the residents in Timberridge were FIREWISE compliant. Most property
owners that do not comply with FIREWISE standards are out of state
PAWUIC's Future Focus
PAWUIC's focus now is on developing a woody
mass and byproducts industry. Up until the spring of 2003 any value
added log cut from the area was shipped a minimum of 100-200 miles
to Utah or California or Idaho. A USFS grant started a small saw
mill in Humbolt which is on Warren Kuhles' property. PAWUIC is working
to bring back the wood industry in the area on a small scale, which
includes a bioenergy plant.
In 2002, Kuhles Services of Prescott was funded$100,000
from an Economic Action Program (EAP) Grant. The money was
used for the Prescott Woody Biomass Utilization Project. Warren
Kuhles, President of Kuhles Services, owns a waste hauling
and processing business that specializes in dry waste-which
includes forest debris and construction demolition debris.
In March 2003, Kuhles Services opened its Iron
King facility located in Humbolt on 101 acres. Kuhles owns
the land, dumpsters, trucks and the landfill needed for his
business. He believes the vertical integration of the different
aspects of the business will result in the ability to make
a profit in this difficult business.
Space in the landfill is his most valuable
asset, so finding a way to utilize or recycle debris coming
into the site in vital. 52% of the material brought to the
landfill is recycled in some form. Grinding wood is one way
to keep construction and forest debris out of the ground.
Kuhles bought a wood waste grinder and started grinding all
the wood from a 2X4 to a tree, as long as it was clean. Kuhles
has used his own wood chips for soil remediation on his own
propertyan old iron mine.
Kuhles has developed two dominant types of markets
his wood residues. The strictly clean forest residue is ground
up, screened and shipped to a California composting operation.
Kulhles plans to start production using his own composting
facility by mid 2004. The other wood waste, called dirty wood,
can be used as boiler fuel for a cogeneration plant or biomass
energy plant-a project currently in the works.
Kuhles' big vision is to develop an environmental
industrial park solely based on wood. He would like to have
a saw mill on the property and a log home builder. He would
like to see a small scale, one megawatt power plant to create
electricity and heat and then feed the electricity and heat
to all the subscribers in the business park. "You create
symbiotic businesses that work off each other, that compliment
each other. They all create waste and it will go back to feeding
the whole system"
Currently, Kuhles' has 40 employees with a payroll
of $74,000 a month. "I draw a minimal paycheck. A lot
of my drivers make more than I do. I can live that. To me
it's a dream. It's an endeavor. It' a long term big picture.
I like my junk yard and I like wearing boots and jeans."