Description of the Portal IV Community

 
 
   

The Portal IV subdivision is located within the community of Pine, Arizona in the Northwest quarter of section 25, in the township 12 North, Range 8 East, Gila and Salt River Meridian and Baseline in northern Gila County, Arizona. The latitude is 34 degrees, 24 minutes north and the longitude is 111 degrees by 28 minutes west.

 

This private gated residential community consist s of 125 acres and it is 14 miles northwest of the larger town of Payson, Arizona. Portal IV is located at approximately 5600 feet in elevation within Pine Creek Canyon which angles to the north-east below the Mogollon Rim. Portal IV is surrounded by the Tonto National Forest. The Coconino National Forest is located several miles north of the community. Highway 87 is the major thoroughfare connecting both forest properties and continues north to Flagstaff and Winslow, Arizona.

 

Portal IV is a newer community with construction commencing in1994. The community has a total of approximately 167 lots available for home construction. There are a total of 121 property owners. This community currently has 16 full time resident families and approximately 53 part time and weekend resident families.

 

The entrance is located off of Highway 87. The Portal IV infrastructure consists of 2.85 miles of paved access road s and cul-de-sacs. The main access roads are 16 feet wide and are one-way roads. There are two exits on the west side of the subdivision facing Highway 87. There are 22 cul-de-sacs off the main Ruin Hill Loop and Preserve Drive access roads. None of the cul-de-sacs meet the standard NFPA 50' radius. Fire equipment entering these cul-de-sacs would be limited to hammerhead-T turns, depending on the size of the equipment.

 

Home Owners Association regulations for Portal IV require that all homes be built with metal or triple A roofing materials. The existing homes are composed of log, wood or stucco-sided materials.

 

WEATHER CONDITIONS

Summer temperatures vary from the low 60' s at night to high of 100 degrees at mid-day.

Monsoon storms during the months of July through September are associated with frequent lightning strikes in the forested areas. These storms will deposit between 25 and 30 inches of annual precipitation (rain plus snow melt) on the Mogollon Rim above Portal IV. Precipitation occurs in two distinct seasons: November through March when storm systems from the Pacific Ocean bring rain and snow to these higher elevations; July through September during the monsoon season which is due to Portal IV's topographical relationship to the Mogollon Rim.

 

Mid-winter temperatures will range from the mid-teens at night to 60-70 degree temperatures during day-time hours. The area has sustained drought conditions for the past eight years; rain and snowfall have been light during this period. Winter storms during a normal year can deposit anywhere from 4 to 24 inches of snow on Portal IV. The area is exposed to strong winds during the monsoons. The prevailing winds are from the south-southwest throughout the year.

 

TOPOGRAPHY

Portal IV is landscaped with the homes located on terraces and slopes that are greater than 4%. There are well defined drainage channels throughout the community. The angle of the slopes is the primary topographic concern. The steep slopes of the surrounding canyons will play a key role in pre-heating fuels and aiding in convection of a fire. The  4+% or greater slope in selected areas of Portal IV may limit access for larger fire vehicles.

 

FUEL TYPES

The vegetation above 5,000 feet elevation is primarily Ponderosa pine forests, pinion juniper woodlands, mixed conifer, and oak trees. Manzanita is prolific. Much of the surrounding Tonto National Forest is vulnerable to crown fire involving the Ponderosa pine trees. The Forest Service has created a fire break of 150 yards north and east of the community; however, a high fuel load still exists south of Portal IV and across Highway 87 to the west. Combustible fuels were significantly reduced in common areas within Portal IV during 2004 and 2005 . Forty-eight individual property owners had their properties cleared of debris by DOC crews. An additional 26 homeowners are presently having Manzanita cleared from their lots.

 

AREA FIRE BEHAVIOR

The fire season typically runs from May to September. The month of June witnesses the most extreme fire behavior. Due to the continuing drought conditions in this area, human-caused wild fires have started as early as February. The community is located in Pine Creek Canyon and this creates a dangerous scenario due to the direction of the winds, combustible fuels, and steep slopes, which will allow fire to travel through the canyon at a faster rate.

 

FIRE PROTECTION

The Pine-Strawberry Fire Department services the community and is located approximately 1 mile south and west of Highway 87 on Hardscrabble Road. The Pine Fire Station is staffed 24 hours, 7 days a week with full time fire fighters and EMT services.

 

WATER RESOURSES

Portal IV has 250,000 gallon storage tank with a 2500 gallon compression tank located within the community and is equipped for fire department access. An extra pump augments  the pressure into the fire hydrants. All utilities in Portal IV are located underground.

 

COMMUNITY SERVICES

The Pine- Strawberry populations are serviced by a well-equipped medical clinic staffed by a full time primary care physician and her nurses. Three nursing residences are located in the area. A full service hospital is located in Payson 15 miles south of Pine.

 

These two communities are governed by the Gila County Board of Supervisors, District 1. The Gila County Sheriff's department has based two officers in the immediate area. The fire department has two stations, 16 full-time firefighters/paramedics, 13 part-time firefighters/EMTs, and 27 volunteer firefighters/EMTs.

 

COMMUNITY GOALS AND OBJECTIVE

Community Fire Wise Day The community is aggressively marketed about the benefits of this designation during the Memorial Day weekend's artists displays and sales. 65 to 75 tent-booths are erected on the Pine Civic Center grounds for this two day event. This very popular event is repeated on the Fourth of July and Labor Day Holidays.

 

Community Education - Portal IV will continue the individual and common property management of combustible fuels; encourage home owners to maintain defensible spaces surrounding each home; and emergency application of fire retardants to the home's exterior all of which make up an on-going education process in this community.

 

Street Signs - Change to 4 inch lettering in the future using iridescent products.

 

Fuel Breaks - Clean up the south and east borders of the community in conjunction with the fire departments programs.

 

Brush Day - Schedule one or two days a month to have individual home owners gather their brush into piles that can be picked up on a scheduled basis.

 

Shoulder Fuels - Periodically request permits from ADOT to cleared combustible fuels such as tall, dry grasses from road shoulders surrounding Portal IV.

 

Fire Evacuation Plan - Create a plan which will increase the awareness of all residents to leave the community by one of the three exits onto Highway 87.

 

Fire Wise News Letter - Create a News Letter to be included with the monthly Home Owners Association News Letter pertaining to current Fire Wise Community information.

 

Changing HOA deck materials - Encourage the HOA Architectural Review Committee to alter their standards in favor of non-flammable decking materials which would be mandated in all future construction projects.