Burned Area Emergency Response

Location: Safford Ranger District, Coronado National Forest

The Frye Fire Burned Area Emergency Response (BAER) work on Mt. Graham is continuing with progress in many areas.  Over the last week a crew from the Arizona Department of Forestry and Fire Management camped at Riggs Flat Campground and completed a seven-day work project. Their work included clearing road culverts along most of the burned area road system, clearing floatable debris from stream channels near critical road crossings, and removal of hazard trees. 

Aerial seeding of the Frye Fire began yesterday as part of the implementation of the Burned Area Emergency Response (BAER).  Approximately 180 acres were accomplished before the flying operation was shut down due to unfavorable weather conditions.  The operation began again today and will continue until the project is completed.  The airplane being used for this project is an AT-802 Air Tractor capable of carrying approximately 6,000 pounds of seeding material to be broadcast over the fire area.  Since the majority of the area being seeded on the fire exceeds 8,000 feet, the load has been r

This past weekend road crews from the Arizona Department of Transportation (ADOT) and the Coronado National Forest worked together to remove debris from the Wet Canyon Recreation Site on the Swift Trail (State Highway 366). This past week several heavy storms moved a significant amount of woody debris and rock down Wet Canyon, effectively blocking flow under a historic CCC bridge and threatening the structure of the main road bridge. By Sunday evening enough debris had been removed to return the water flow to the original channel under the old bridge.

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.

Although the initial threat of the Frye Fire has passed, post-fire conditions are being assessed to recommend preventive treatments and emergency stabilization for fire related problems such as soil erosion from loss of vegetation; flooding from increased runoff; and increased sedimentation downstream which could have the potential to impact private property and public safety.  This assessment is called a Burned Area Emergency Response (BAER).

Today and tomorrow, crews will place additional sandbags behind the k-rails by the Red Hillside Cemetery to prevent water from seeping between the rails.  When this is finished, all planned treatments for the fire will be complete.
 
Saturday was the last day for the BAER team to complete field assessments. For the next several days, they will summarize their findings and draft a plan of Emergency Stabilization and Burned Area Rehabilitation treatments.
 

Efforts by the Burned Area Emergency Response (BAER) team have proven successful and effective on areas of the Slide Fire and work is nearing completion.

Even though the effects from rain events cannot be entirely prevented by Burned Area Emergency Response (BAER) efforts they can mitigated by reducing water flow, debris runoff and erosion from rain event on lands downstream and down-slope from moderately to severely burned areas within the fire perimeter.

The Burned Area Emergency Response (BAER) assessment team has finalized their ground survey and assessment of values-at-risk to determine if emergency watershed conditions exist from effects of the Slide Fire, which burned 21,227 acres on the Coconino National Forest (NF). 

The team determined that values-at-risk to include life, property, or unacceptable cultural or natural resource degradation that may be threatened by future storms and has recommended emergency treatments. 

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