Presentation on theme: "Arizona Wildfires : The effects on trails and how to begin Mitigation and Reconstruction."— Presentation transcript:
Arizona Wildfires : The effects on trails and how to begin Mitigation and Reconstruction
Presentation Outline AZ Wildfire History Trails in Arizona Impacts to Trails from Wildfires Post-Fire Trail Mitigation Measures
AZ Wildfire History Wildfires were once common in Arizona –The historic natural fire regimes were: Pinyon-Juniper Woodlands = every years Ponderosa Pine Communities = every 2-10 years Mix-Conifer Forests = every 5-25 years Spruce-Fir Forests = 150+ years Type and intensity of historic wildfires –Frequent, low-intensity surface fires –Fire-dependent ecosystems
AZ Wildfire History Whats changed AZs natural fire regime? –Arrival of Anglo-Americans: Roads and trails broke up forest fuels continuity Livestock grazing / Logging Fire suppression by land management agencies Climatic Differences (Drought) / Global Warming Subsequent affects to the land and wildfires Altered forest composition and structure Greater build-up of organic materials (fuels) Larger, more intense catastrophic wildfires
SOUTHWEST COORDINATION CENTER YEAR-TO-DATE FIRES & ACRES Human Lightning Caused TOTAL FiresAcresFiresAcresFIRESACRES ,48336,5671,597115,8563,080152, ,716197,6831,196564,4293,912762, ,22745,9661,396176,5372,623222, ,232114,6241,60774,3812,839189, ,746599,3831,33530,4933,081629, ,82012,7621,34717,7413,16730,503 ARIZONA ,40745,6572,17237,2393,57982, ,05523, ,8981,92663,908 As of 9/11/2007 Larger, More Intense and Damaging Wildfires Avg. ~191,000 ac. / yr (based on )
Trails in Arizona ASP lists over 600 trails statewide Thousands of miles of trails / routes Many different types / classes of trails Trails located in many different types of ecosystems and land jurisdictions
Impacts to Trails From Wildfires Loss of Vegetation (trees, shrubs, bushes, grasses, ground cover, etc.) Insect Infestation / Noxious Weeds Soil Erosion (hydrophobic soils and significant surface runoff / washouts) Loss of Trail Structures (THs, toilets, signs, water bars, aesthetics, trail integrity, etc.)
Burned Area Emergency Response (BAER) Process BAER teams are comprised of hydrologists, soil scientists, engineers, biologists, archaeologists, range conservationists, silviculturists, and other specialists. Primary objective is to protect life, property, water quality, and deteriorated ecosystems. When appropriate, an agency administrator requests a BAER team, usually before a fire is contained.
Burned Area Emergency Response (BAER) Process (continued) Primary goal of the BAER team is to generate a Rehab Plan for approval and implementation: Determine if emergency resource or human health and safety conditions exist. Alleviate emergency conditions to help stabilize soil; control water, sediment and debris movement; prevent impairment of ecosystems; mitigate significant threats to health, safety, life, property & downstream values at risk. Monitor the implementation and effectiveness of emergency treatments. Typically 12-month timeline.
Burned Area Emergency Response (BAER) Process (continued) What BAER may do: Install water or erosion control devices Plant for erosion control or stability reasons. Install temporary barriers to protect treated/recovering areas. Install warning signs. Replace minor safety related facilities. Install appropriate-sized drainage features on roads and trails. Remove critical safety hazards. Plant grass to prevent spread of noxious weeds. What BAER cannot do: Replant commercial forests or grass for forage. Excavate and interpret cultural sites. Install interpretive signs. Replace burned buildings, bridges, corrals, etc. Repair roads damaged by floods after fire. Treat pre-existing noxious weeds.
Post-Fire Trail Assessment Things to look for: –Safety Concerns Current Future –Trail Damage Extent Severity Cost Estimate
Post-Fire Trail Mitigation Measures First Steps: Secure the Area Post warning / safety signs. Remove hazard trees. Inform the Public News Releases oTelevision oRadio oNewspaper oTown Hall Meetings
Post-Fire Trail Mitigation Strategy Three General Approaches: Decommission trail for safety and resource concerns/issues. Repair / reconstruct the trail at its current location. Reroute trail or portions of the trail to a better location.
Post-Fire Trail Mitigation Considerations Questions to Ask: What are the elements of the reconstruction project? Will it require NEPA to reconstruct the trail? How will we accomplish the work (i.e. in-house, contract, grants, volunteers, etc.)?
Post-Fire Trail Mitigation & Reconstruction Measures Seed / Mulch Dispersal: Aerial and By Hand