Prescott case study
Improve Fire Prevention and Suppression Reduce Hazardous FuelsRestore Fire Adapted Ecosystems Promote Community AssistanceSummary

 

WGA Goal - Promote Community Assistance


Actions to meet goal

  • Reduce losses to communities from wildland fire
  • Promote markets for traditionally underutilized wood
  • Promote opportunities to continue and enhance sustainable livestock grazing as part of restoration strategies
  • Increase incentives for private landowners to address defensible space and fuels management needs on private property
  • Promote local government incentives through fire-sensitive land use planning

The Prescott Basin Wildland Interface Fire Reduction Project

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) Grants

In 2001 Prescott received $168,000 for fuels reduction Prescott WUIprojects 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 grants.

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 Commission (PAWUIC).

Timberridge-a FIREWISE Community

Timberridge FIREWISE

Timberridge, 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 residents.

defensible home

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.

 

Kuhles Services

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 property—an old iron mine.

Kuhles wood chips

Kuhles has developed two dominant types of markets forest and construction debrisfor 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."

 

 

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Copyright©2003 Toddi A. Steelman and North Carolina State University

 
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