VERDE HERITAGE: 1926: MINGUS MOUNTAIN FIRE, June 11

"The forest fire on Mingus Mountain last Friday was a more serious mater than most people believed. An area of about 40 acres was burned over and but for real work on the part of the fire fighters, the results might have been disastrous."

"Harry Amster, of the Reese & Amster White Garage, was one of the impressed fire heroes and his account of his experiences is worth reproducing. He said this morning: 'Never again, if I can help it. This thing of fighting a forest fire is no snap; it is hard work and plenty of it from start to finish. I've accumulated a crop of blisters that will last me for another year at least.'"

"When the fire broke out, Ranger Mutz summoned all his official help, but saw immediately that more were required. He came to Jerome and impressed --- that's the right word, for when a forest ranger taps you on the shoulder and says, 'Uncle Sam need you,' you go, or go to jail --- all the local firemen he could round up in a quarter of an hour, and took them up to Mingus to give 'em a taste of the real thing.'"

"THOSE PRESENT: Among the lucky (?) ones were: Milton J. Scott, Tom Pressley, Frank Moore, L. B. Sykes, Robert Sims, Lawrence E. Dicus, O. T. Cardwell, John Connolly, Jr., Myron Scott, Charles Risinger, Tom Wilkinson, and Harry Amster."

"They were taken out to the scene of the fire and told what to do --- and they did it. They beat out burning brush, they raked lanes around the fire, they chopped down trees and saplings, and all the time Forester Mutz was 'on their backs' spurring them on to real work. Just the same, the results were par excellence and the fire was held to a comparatively small area, doing no damage other than the destruction of a lot of young undergrowth that might have made forest if it had the chance. Close to 40 acres were partially burned over but the area was in a lucky part of the forest where few large trees were growing and the loss was comparatively small."

"A constantly changing wind made the work more difficult but the boys waded in like heroes and did whatever was necessary. Lou Graham, the potato king of Mingus, was the only sufferer --- and his loss was more apparent than real. He came up to aid the fire fighting, tied his horse to a dandy sapling and then forgot just where the anchoring point was. When the forester called 'time' and announced that the fire was under control, Lou went in search of his horse and found him quietly browsing a mile away from where he thought he had left him --- and he wasn't untied, either."

"Early in the afternoon, the United Verde Copper Company sent a crew of 15 or more men to the fire, but they weren't needed, as the danger was over by the time they arrived."

"It was a nice little blaze and might have been a serious one but for the good work done by the ranger and his assistants. 'I never hope to have better, or more willing men,' said Ranger Mutz this morning. 'The boys worked intelligently and faithfully and never failed to respond when called upon. They're all right.'"

"The most careful investifation has failed to disclose the cause of the fire. Several parties of campers and a number of tourists were in the area earlier in the day, and it is possible that a carelessly thrown cigar or cigarette stub, or a lighted match, may have started the blaze."

"All visitors to the Mingus area are requested to take special care in the matter of fires, cigars, cigarettes, or matches."

(Verde Copper News; Jerome; Tuesday, June 15, 1926; page 1.)

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