Thanking First Responders

We would like to publicly thank the members of the Patagonia Fire Department and Deputy Abelardo Gonzales-Median of the Santa Cruz County Sheriff’s Department who responded to a fire in our camper in Red Rock Acres, east of Patagonia on May 28th.

Their quick response prevented a problem from becoming much worse. While our 5th wheel was a total loss, because of the expertise of the first responders, the fire was contained and did not spread to the dry grasses or homes nearby. 

In addition, the firefighters and deputy were incredibly supportive during this obviously traumatic experience. We would also like to thank our neighbor, Brett Dodd, who spotted the fire and notified the fire department. 

We are so appreciative for our friends and neighbors who expressed concern for our wellbeing. Add this incident to the list of reasons we live in this wonderful community!

Jim Staudacher, Faith Coburn


Preventing a Firestorm

Last month, I wrote about what would happen if a firestorm hit Patagonia, and how to create a better outcome. 

I’m pleased to say that the Patagonia Volunteer Fire Department has finalized plans and agreements with the Nature Conservancy, Audubon, and the Town, and by the time you read this we should be finished rehabilitating the firebreak between the town and TNC’s nature preserve. 

This is a key element in protecting the town from a catastrophic fire. We’re also working with Borderlands as they develop a fire plan for their holdings. 

Multiple members of the community have asked us for Firewise assessments, and created their own firebreaks and defensibles spaces. We encourage everyone in town to follow suit, and help keep our town safe from catastrophe. 

Zay Hartigan

PVFR Fire Chief

Naming the New Park

As reported in the last PRT, Bracker said, “I don’t understand why they [AMI] went to all this trouble. Nothing can affect their road. They believe they are getting something. It doesn’t make any sense to me. But if that means we aren’t going to get any more development on that property, I’ll take the land.” When asked why he thought that this land with an industrial road bisecting it had any value as a park, he answered, “We don’t even know what kind of park this is going to be.” 

How about this kind of park? “BRACKER ROADKILL CORRIDOR” 

Murphy Musick


Living With Fires

I have been a Resident of Arizona for 46 years. This past December, we relocated to Sonoita from “Out Wickenburg Way.”

In the week of 5/3 to 5/10, life here in Sonoita was nothing short of stimulating for all of us. On 5/3 we had a small series of fires start just north of Sonoita on SR83 which were extinguished quickly by our spectacular local Sonoita-Elgin Fire Department. On 5/7 we had a fire start south of Sonoita near Lochiel (San Rafael Fire). On 5/10 we had yet another fire start just west of Sonoita in the Santa Rita Mountains (Josephine Fire) which was extinguished that same day.

I have to extend my gratitude, thanks and commendations for such quick response times to all of the many brave and valiant first responders, volunteer fire departments, the heroic firefighting ground crews, the spectacular aerial spotter, tanker and helicopter crews and the magnificent coordinating management crews involved. 

We have sadly been witness to countless numbers of wildfires, some small, and some extremely large, consuming millions of acres of our beautiful desert and mountain landscapes.

An accounting of only the MAJOR devastating wildfires in Arizona, and the causes, since my relocating to Arizona in 1976 thru 2021: Total fires: 34; Causes: four unknown; 12 by lightning strikes; 18 by Humans. Unfortunately, this is a way of life here and it will continue. The upside though is that to flourish, the land must be replenished from time to time of which FIRE is a means to accomplish this. “Mother Nature” does a great job of this. What ‘She’ doesn’t need is any help from Irresponsible Humans…and we all know that there are no shortages of these!

Be extremely ‘fire wise and think twice’ before doing anything that can cause a fire! It only takes one spark. The consequences can be devastating for everyone.

Todd Barrick

Sonoita, AZ

Judy’s roses are blooming — a tribute

When Judy Starbuck departed this world, she gifted the next tenant in her Patagonia mobile home of 35 years with a cluster of rose bushes and an amaryllis, symbol of determination, beauty and love, all that embodied Judy’s life. So I was overjoyed watching her flowers bloom in what is now my little corner of paradise to tend and enjoy. Thank you, Judy. I will do my best to keep the garden growing.


Heather Dodge