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Prescott firm finds niche clearing fire dangers

PRESCOTT VALLEY, Ariz. -- A northern Arizona company started by two elite firefighters that clears fire dangers around homes has seen business boom in its inaugural season.

Arrow Fire Support Services has been receiving work nonstop in the last two months to clear brush and other fuels for fire found around homes, the Daily Courier reported Tuesday.

David Bowden, who was a Pleasant Valley Hotshot, and Matthew Gesser, a current Mesa Hotshot, started the company in April.

Last year's deadly Yarnell Hill Fire and more recent wildfires have made people more pro-active about making sure their property isn't at risk, Bowden said. "We get more and more fire-wise communities every day," he said.

First, the company does a free assessment with the homeowner of the house.

"Typically, we educate the homeowner on what can be done, what fuels can be mitigated. We take them around the whole home and show them what's imperative," Bowden said.

Then they negotiate over what needs to be taken down and what can stay.

"We have to work with usually the wife - do what we need to do keep house safe, but leave them something to look at for their birds, rabbits and what have you," Bowden said. "We want to leave them a home they'll be proud of."

The company has gotten a variety of jobs, from small homes to multi-acre properties. They serve clients in Prescott Valley and the surrounding cities.

So far, Arrow Fire has recruited at least eight people, all with fire-service backgrounds. Employees have found their wildland firefighting training is now paying off in another way.

"It's easy for us to look at a house and say, `This is what would happen. These are the fuels we need to mitigate,'" Bowden said.

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Information from: The Daily Courier

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