The Apache-Sitgreaves National Forest implemented Stage 1 Fire Restrictions on April 23. This means campfires in designated developed campgrounds only and no smoking except in enclosed vehicles and buildings. It also means that it’s dangerously dry in the forest.
Let’s review how to get out of Dodge in the event of a fire or other emergency that would require rapid departure. You can leave via Vacation Village Drive which exits onto White Mountain Road. However, there are three other outlets. These are emergency exits and were required by the City of Show Low before approval of the different units.
Before we discuss those exits, let’s define “emergency”. Merriam-Webster defines emergency as “an unforeseen combination of circumstances or the resulting state that calls for immediate action. A pre-evacuation notice is not an emergency as this notice would be issued giving people enough time to gather important papers and medications and to make decisions on what to do with pets. If a pre-evacuation order is turned into an actual evacuation, there should be time to leave in an orderly fashion. This would not result in a panic situation.
An emergency might occur as a result of a fire that starts in or very near the Village and is moving quickly. Under such a circumstance there might not be time to leave with anything but your life. In an instant such as this, you might feel compelled to use one of the three other exists. All three exit onto Ellsworth Road via breakaway or “crash” gates. There is a gate at Elizabeth and Ellsworth Heights Road in Unit 2, a gate at Recreation Loop and Ellsworth Heights Road and a gate at Mule Skinner Loop and Ellsworth Heights Road, both in Unit 4. These gates are fairly low and each is secured with a set of three padlocks (one is a fire department lock). Unlocking any of the three will open the gate. However, you need only be concerned with the combination padlock. Most have been given the combination for these padlocks but here it is again – ZOOOO.
If you find yourself first in line at one of the crash gates and feel like there is no time to get out of your car to use the combination (ZOOOO), simply “crash” through the gate. It was designed for this. Your vehicle might incur damage but the people behind you will be grateful. Another option is to lay back and wait for someone else to crash through it first. However, by that time, you could have used the combination (ZOOOO) and saved your vehicle.
Let us hope we never have a situation where you would need to use the emergency exits. However, now everyone knows how to get out quickly and safely if the need arises. ZOOOO!