In the last month, Arizona became a new hot spot for COVID-19 while facing the Bighorn Fire in the Santa Catalina mountains caused by a lightning strike.
Mount Lemmon, the highest point of the Santa Catalina mountains, was considered as an escape for people who live in Tucson before the fire. People went there to relax and get out of the intensely hot Tucson weather, especially during summertime, according to Laura Mance, president of Long Realty Company.
“Mount Lemmon is Tucson’s playground. Millions of people escape to the mountain every year to picnic under the pines, sleep under the star, hike or fish in Rose Canyon Lake," Mance said. "In a short 29-mile drive people move through 4 climate zones to a special place where the temperatures are usually 30 degrees cooler than they are in Tucson… Mount Lemmon is our special desert island."
Laura and her husband, Doug Mance, a retired firefighter, moved to Tucson in 1978 and bought their first cabin on Forest Service land in 1995 and sold it in 2005.
“We missed the mountain and returned and bought again in 2010,” Laura Mance said.
Laura Mance also mentioned she and her husband went up the mountain nearly every weekend.
“[Doug Mance] commuted up and down the mountain every day unless he was on a fire,” Laura Mance said via email.
Mount Lemmon has been fire’s victim for a long time. After the Aspen fire in 2003, cabins and business were better built to face fire.
Sally Crum, a Mount Lemmon resident, explained that Mount Lemmon is a fairly small community that has become much closer after the fires the mountain has faced.
“We are like family and look out for each other and help in emergencies,” Crum said via email.
Crum is an active member of the Mount Lemmon community. She is a former Board Member of the Mount Lemmon Fire District, the chairperson of the Mount Lemmon Firewise Community and serves on the Mount Lemmon Homeowner’s Association.
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Laura Mance also thought that giving something back to the community was a token of appreciation.
“Long Realty does all its business in Arizona communities. Through the Long [Realty] Cares Foundation, we are able to give back to our communities. It’s as simple as that,” Laura Mance said.
In 2002, Long Realty Cares Foundation was established to promote generous activities that impacted Arizonans’ quality of life according to the foundation's website.
Long Realty Cares Foundation contributed over $2.5 million to community organizations since it was established.
This time, Long Realty Cares Foundation decided to support a non-local organization that has contributed to the community, the Wildland Firefighters Foundation.
According to the Wildland Firefighters Foundation website, they are a non-profit organization whose main mission is to provide help to families of firefighters who were killed or injured while doing their jobs.
“[The Wildland Firefighters foundation] takes care of a lot of people,” said Burk Minor, director of Wildland Firefighters foundation.
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Long Realty Cares Foundation was able to donate $2,500 to the Wildland Firefighters Foundation, according to Laura Mance.
With some hopes pinned on monsoon, Crum was hopeful that later on the year all tourists could come to the mountain and enjoy what she called her "Sky Island paradise."
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