UPDATE: Signal Fire Burned Area Emergency Response (BAER) work complete
SILVER CITY, N.M. – The Gila National Forest Burned Area Emergency Response (BAER) Team announced the completion of emergency treatment and stabilization of areas burned as the result the Signal Fire, which started May 11, 10 miles north of Silver City.
In the aftermath of the Signl Fire BAER Team members moved in quickly assessing the burned areas and recommending emergency treatments to minimize threats to life, property and natural and cultural resources. BAER’s “first aid” immediate stabilization treatments reduce downstream values at risk from wildfires.
The BAER Team assesed and has completed the following:
· Installing water erosion bars on FR154-Signal Peak Road and FR 855A-Lockney road to provide drainage and reduce negative effects to the roads
· Cleaning and clearing road ditches to allow water to move freely through them
· Removing drainage culverts and replacing them with drive-able low-water crossings
· Installing a closure gate on Signal Peak Rd. and Meadow Creek Rd. for public safety during monsoon rains
· Installing warning and hazard signs at area entry points
· Aerial seeding high severity burn areas
The road work on Signal Peak Road is intended to prepare the road for increased erosion and runoff from the fire area during monsoonal rains. The installation of the low-water crossings and removal of drainage culverts allows water and debris to flow freely across roadbeds and not clog up the culverts and wash out the road. Road storm patrol and response will contue throughout the monsoon season.
High severity burn areas, totaling 1,525 acres, were aerial seeded. The aerial seeding allows vegetation to be quickly established on bare slopes to lessen erosion from taking place. Aerial seeding began July 9, and was completed July 10, in conjunction with the beginning of the monsoon rains, allowing the seed to germinate and provide vegetative cover on the steep high severity burn areas. The grass seed mixture is composed mainly of annual barley and certified weed-seed-free native grass seed.
Visitors are reminded that an Emergency Area Closure for public safety remains in place for the Signal Fire area. For further information contact the Silver City Ranger District at(575) 388-8201 or the Gila National Forest website at www.fs.usda.gov/gila.