Over the past week the Frye Fire area has received a significant amount of rain. Several storms have left rainfall totals of two inches or more at the Arizona Department of Water Resource rain gauges at Heliograph Peak, and Pinaleno Park. These flows have produced movement of rock and debris in stream channels along the Swift Trail (Highway 366) which have washed over the roadway and damaged highway fill slopes in several locations.
On June 22, 2017 a storm on the east side of the Pinaleno Mountains sent flash floods down the drainages at Noon Creek and Wet Canyon which overtopped the Swift Trail and deposited rock and debris in both recreation area locations. Traffic was stopped on the Swift Trail for approximately one hour while Arizona Department of Transportation personnel cleared debris from the Highway. The debris flow from this storm has closed Wet Canyon and Noon Creek until debris can be removed from the facilities associated with the sites.
It is likely that the Frye Fire area will continue to experience severe monsoon storms. Visitors to areas adjacent to the burned area of the Frye Fire should be aware of weather conditions above their location. While flash floods are a regular hazard in the Southwest, the flows off of burned areas such as the Frye Fire can be increase by as much as five times the normal flow.
This week the Frye Fire Burned Area Emergency Response Team (BAER) will begin implementing projects oriented towards protecting the national forest road infrastructure. Personnel will be clearing debris from culverts and maintaining road surfaces to improve water flow across and under roadways. The process has also begun to implement an aerial seeding contract which will be used to stabilize heavily burned lands within the fire. This process will involve the aerial seeding of a non-persistent barley species which will provide a vegetative cover to stabilized burned soils. The barley species will provide cover for approximately two years while other native species become re-established.
Closures: The majority of the Frye Fire area remains closed to public. Detailed information regarding this closure may be found at https://www.fs.usda.gov/Internet/FSE_DOCUMENTS/fseprd550498.pdf.
For additional updates please see the Coronado National Forest Facebook page at http://facebook.com/CoronadoNF .