The most interesting news of the month regarding the focus of this column is the lesson of the Wallow Fire that burned earlier this summer in Eastern Arizona.

Idyllwild Fire Protection District Chief Norm Walker was on the fire and is uniquely qualified to speak about it, and to our benefit he will address it in his Town Crier column later in the month. Chief Walker will also make a presentation on the Wallow Fire at our MCFSC August Board meeting on 9:30 a.m. Tuesday, Aug. 23. The public is invited and we will start with his presentation so people don’t have to listen to the details of our operations if they would rather not. The meeting will be held in the conference room at the Idyllwild Fire Station.

You really can’t get more relevant to our situation than what happened in Arizona, so I am sure a good turnout will help the community.

Closer to home, the Town Crier put on a great party and program at the Nature Center in July to celebrate the first Ernie Maxwell Community Spirit Award, given on the centennial of his birth. The Woodies, our volunteer group, were nominated for the award, along with the Idyllwild Community Fund and the Mountain Community Patrol. All three groups are outstanding and deserving of the award, but the Woodies were honored to win. I think the edge for the Woodies was that, given Ernie’s profound love of nature and the joy he took in being outdoors, the association with the Woodies was just overwhelming. There is no question that were he around today, he would be a Woodie.

Anyway, it was a great evening, with delightful stories about Mr. Maxwell and his devotion to the community. It is easy to see how he influenced the development of the strong volunteerism that exists on the Hill. We are grateful for the spirit he gave to the community, and to all who have furthered the work of community service.

On the topic of local abatement, allow me to repeat what many of you know but some, surprisingly to me and others on the council, do not. We at the Mountain Communities Fire Safe Council are a nonprofit corporation devoted to the fire safety of the mountain communities, and toward this end we apply for and receive grants to help property owners fire abate their properties.

So, if you have not done anything to bring your property into compliance with fire abatement codes, and you are delaying the work because you can’t do it yourself or don’t have all the money necessary to make sure it is done, you should talk to us. Call our office at (951) 659-6208.

We have excellent project managers who will meet with you and discuss what needs to be done to make your property fire safe. If the job in question is significant enough (more than raking), with your approval our manager will write it up and put it out to bid to our list of contractors, all of whom are top quality. Our grant funds will pay 65 percent of the contractor’s fee. So, for a great price (the lowest bid), you get quality work done to make your property safer, not to mention code compliant, and you pay only 35 percent of the fee. Now that’s a deal.