Many other residents of Castle Valley also watched the spectacle by setting up lawn chairs and enjoyed snacks in the cool evening while waiting for the falling embers to cascade down the side of Parriott Mesa. John Buchanan of Pace Lane was one of many who took striking pictures of the event. He said that he thought this year’s event was particularly good. “It seemed to start a little later, but lasted longer, and ebbed and surged very nicely for a wonderful show. Quite the fun annual ritual,” he concluded.
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The thunderstorm that we experienced last Wednesday, May 28, brought a little bit of rain to the valley and also dropped the temperatures considerably, giving some temporary relief from the heat. It also brought several lightning strikes, one of which started a little grass fire on a hillside south of Round Mountain.
Following a call from a hiker in the area who witnessed the strike and fire, a crew of four Castle Valley Fire Department members and two brush trucks were assembled to locate and extinguish the fire before it could spread. The fire crew spent two hours in the effort and returned to their homes about 9:30 that night.
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I knew this day was coming. I’ve been expecting it for a long time now. Earlier this week I opened the valve that waters the lawn but very little water came out so I thought I left other valves on and simply didn’t have enough pressure. After checking the valves and finding them all closed, that sinking feeling surfaced in my mind and I knew it had to be an electrical problem or the pump went out of commission. After checking everything that I knew to check, I called my longtime pump guy, Tracy Balsley, and he came promptly the next morning.
As I said, I knew this day was coming. After all, that pump was put in the well exactly 36 years this month and has worked maintenance-free ever since. But after pulling the pump, it was discovered that the pump was not the problem at all but a hole had worn through the old galvanized pipe that was attached to the pump in the well. That old Goulds 3 horsepower pump served us well but it will also be replaced along with the new PVC pipe. If they last another 36 years I will not know because they will outlast me.
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Thirty five years ago this week, this column reported that the men of the valley were busy assembling the new culvert, which arrived May 29, 1979. The 10-foot high by 60-foot long culvert was nearly completed at this point and the next step was to prepare Castle Creek at Castle Valley Drive so the culvert could be lowered into place. Those working evenings on the culvert assembly included Fred Johnson, Merrill Brady, Don Pueblo, Jim Oakden, Ron Young, Mike Ricketts, Bob Hanson, Gil Haegele, Joe Jarman, Walt Cluff, Jack Cluff, and Ron Drake.
The Castle Valley Fire Department responded to a fire at the Bill McClure residence 30 years ago this week. The cause of the fire was from hot embers in a barbecue grill, which were blown to dry leaves by a sudden gust of wind. The leaves ignited a large cottonwood tree and spread to other trees and brush, burning one-half to three-quarters of an acre before being contained. Castle Valley Fire Chief John McGann expressed appreciation to those who helped at the fire and warned residents of the fire danger and the need for a defensible space around buildings. That same advice is still applicable today.