Frye Fire BAER Update July 29, 2017
Incident: Frye Fire Wildfire
Location: Safford Ranger District, Coronado National Forest
Over the past week a Forestry crew from the State of Arizona has been working on Mt. Graham helping the Burned Area Emergency Response (BAER) Team clear historic road culverts along Forest Service Roads. This work directly responds to a role of BAER to protect historical structures after a damaging wildfire.
The culvert structures were installed by the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) which was established in 1933 and ended in 1942. Young men enrolled in the CCC were employed on many National Forests to do conservation related work. Mt. Graham was the home of one of the Camps related to this program. The typical process for cleaning road culverts involves the use of machinery such as backhoes to dig out dirt and rocks which might slow down or block culvert flow. The purpose of a culvert is to move water under the roadway. If the culvert is blocked, water will flow over and often damage the road surface. Due to the size of the CCC culvert headwalls that direct water into the culvert pipe, hand clearing was required. The State crew cleaned these historical structures with hand tools and protected them from the damage that would have occurred if mechanized equipment was used.
On Saturday work also began at another CCC project in Wet Canyon. In 1936 the Corps built a bridge in Wet Canyon which served visitors along the Swift Trail until it was replaced in 2009. The old CCC bridge was not removed and resides immediately upstream and adjacent to the more recent one. Twice during the last week, heavy rain storms washed rock and debris into this popular recreation site. Friday night July 28, 2017 water from a third storm moved large woody debris and rock against the old bridge blocking flow and diverting water through the recreation site outside the normal channel. Crews from the Arizona Department of Transportation and the Coronado National Forest Service will work together to clear debris and rock from the Wet Canyon recreation site and move the creek back into the original channel under the old bridge. They will also remove material immediately upstream to reduce the potential threat from further flows which might further damage recreation facilities and be a threat to forest visitors.
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 .