Editor: The catastrophic Frye fire, still smoldering, has set up Mount Graham and the Safford area for a far bigger catastrophe, and it may be coming very soon: monsoon rains hitting fire-denuded rockscapes thousands of feet above town.
As one of the authors of the Community Wildfire Protection Plan for north Gila County (Payson), I had ample opportunity to research the effects of post-fire flooding. As a general rule of thumb, the property loss by flooding far exceeds that of the fire itself. The stories of the floods in Globe after a fire in the Pinals in the 1950s were horrendous; lives are also lost. I’m sure everybody remembers the little girl who was killed in her home after the Schultz fire in Flagstaff.
I can only echo Larry Humphrey’s sentiments in his June 24, 2017, letter (“One man’s opinion on the management of the Frye fire,” Eastern Arizona Courier) that conventional post-fire rehabilitation work is generally ineffective, even when done at great cost.
We have been trying to get bureaucrats to look at more creative solutions since the Aspen fire on Mount Lemmon — remember that one? It was just ahead of the Rodeo Chediski fire. We worked very hard with the town of Oracle to see if we could experiment with the same reclamation techniques that have been so successfully used on the mine spoils on Globe. Go see for yourself; they’re right there in plain sight across from the Safeway parking lot.
The local newspaper, The Oracle, got interested, as did the Oracle Land Trust, but we eventually got a two-word answer…
click here to read more.