The older we grow, the less we remember our thoughts, feelings and actions from our childhood and teenage years.

Memories remain but details of past events blur with time.

This year, the Sedona Red Rock News formed a partnership with Sedona Red Rock High School establishing Scorpion Shout Out, a column written exclusively by Sedona teens.

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Wildfire season arrived abruptly in parts of Arizona with three major wildfires raging across the state without signs of slowing down.

Thus far, Sedona and the Verde Valley have escaped major issues other than visible morning smoke.

While we watch firefighters battle the Wallow, Horseshoe 2 and Murphy fires, and families in the White Mountains evacuate their homes, it’s important to remember the same threat exists in our backyard.

It’s dry, it’s hot and it’s windy in the desert in June — the perfect recipe for an out of control forest or structural fire.

While we sit back and watch smoke fill the horizon in the distance it’s important to remember Sedona and other Verde Valley communities could be next.

We all live in wildland-urban interfaces, which is where human development meets the forest. The open space that surrounds our communities makes them appealing but also poses the threat of evacuation or loss due to wildfire.

The Wallow Fire forced evacuations of Sunrise, Greer, Blue River, Alpine, Nutrioso and several subdivisions along State Route 180 and State Route 191.

The good fortune of living in an area surrounded by the wild also brings with it responsibility, particularly when it comes to fire, whether its prevention or preparation.

More and more often wildfires are linked to people who’ve either set them purposely or accidently by carelessly handling flames and sparks. The first step is prevention, which starts with us.

Other fires, however, are started by Mother Nature herself to clean up old forests and rejuvenate life. Regardless of how a fire starts, preparation is needed to protect you and your home.

Firewise Communities urges homeowners in wildland-urban interface communities to take steps before a fire ignites to protect homes and families.

Firewise Communities offers the following tips to protect homes:

  • Use non-combustible construction materials, such as stucco, brick and fiber cement siding on the exterior of homes.
  • Consider using Class-A asphalt roof shingles, clay tile or slate roofing materials. These are more resistant to flames.
  • Prune all trees so the lowest limbs are six to 10 feet from the ground and remove dead or overhanging branches.
  • Use nonflammable landscaping materials, such as rock, pavers, annuals and high-moisture-content perennials within five feet of the home to create a defensible space area.
  • Select low-growing plants to plant outside. Choose plants with high moisture content that are free of resins, oils or waxes that burn easily.
  • Remove leaves and pine needles from gutters and around your home and attachments, such as garages, decks and fences

In the event of evacuation due to wildfire, preparing a home beforehand can make a difference in firefighters’ chances of saving it.

Regardless of which map Yavapai County chooses to follow to redistrict, some residents in the Verde Valley will be disappointed.

County staff unveiled four proposed maps at its first open house Wednesday, June 1, and will be in the Village of Oak Creek on Tuesday, July 19, at the Village of Oakcreek Association Clubhouse from 4 to 6 p.m. to gather comments.

Staff gathered public input earlier in the year to pair with other considerations, including existing voting precincts, population and demographics.

The county warned Verde Valley residents it was highly likely a portion of the area would have to be split from the current district, District 3, and paired with communities now in District 1 and District 2.

Holding true to predictions, population increases mandate Sedona and the Verde Valley grew too much to remain a single district, but not enough to be split in two Verde Valley-exclusive districts.

Each of the four maps will leave at least one community up in arms.

However, all four maps put Sedona and the Village of Oak Creek in the same district.

Map A will likely sit well with the incorporated towns and cities because it keeps them all intact.

Cornville residents, however, won’t be happy. The plan splits part of the incorporated area into two separate districts using Cornville Road as the divider.

Map A puts Cottonwood, Clarkdale, the Verde Villages, Jerome, Sedona, the Village of Oak Creek and Cornville north of Cornville Road in new District 5. Camp Verde, McGuireville, Lake Montezuma and Cornville south of Cornville Road would be paired with communities along Interstate 17, Dewey-Humboldt, Mayer and parts of Prescott Valley in new District 4.

Map B still splits Cornville along Cornville Road, but goes on to divide Verde Villages. One proposed district boundary runs along State Route 260 from where the Verde Villages start nearly to the State Route 89A intersection. Property south of State Route 260 in that section would be grouped with Camp Verde and Cornville south of Cornville Road, with regard to the Verde Valley, and communities from the other side of the mountain.

McGuireville and Lake Montezuma would then join Clarkdale, Jerome, Cottonwood, a portion of Verde Villages, Sedona, the Village of Oak Creek and Cornville north of Cornville Road to form a strictly Verde Valley district.

Map C, however, will be favored by Cornville residents because it keeps them all together and instead pairs Sedona and the Village of Oak Creek with Camp Verde, Lake Montezuma, McGuireville, Cherry and potions of Prescott Valley. Sedona and Village residents, on the other hand, might not be happy with being split from the solely Verde Valley district.

Map D is the most outrageous, splitting the city of Cottonwood into two separate districts in various locations.

Parts of Cottonwood would join Clarkdale and Jerome in a new district with Chino Valley, Paulden and Ashfork. The rest of the Verde Valley would remain in its own district.

County staff and the Yavapai County Board of Supervisors no doubt have their work cut out for them. While they try to please Verde Valley residents, they have even more people in current District 1 and District 2 to work with.

Visit the county’s website to find open house locations, dates and times.

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