Silver City, NM--Kelly Russell, Gila National Forest Supervisor, announced that recommended BAER treatments to reduce the threat of sedimentation and flooding from the Silver Fire have been funded. Many areas of the Silver Fire burned severely and pose a threat of flooding to the communities of Kingston, Hillsboro, and residents living in lower Gallinas Creek off the Royal John Mine Road, County Maintained Road G3-77. After resource specialists assessed post fire conditions, treatment options were recommended and a request for funding was submitted to Forest Service Regional and Washington offices. Funding has been approved and implementation will begin soon.
These treatments are part of the Phase I assessment that the BAER Team completed on June 28 for the southern portion of the fire. Phase II assessment work has begun on areas in the northern portions of the fire. Resource specialists are evaluating and mapping high severity burn areas to propose possible treatments to reduce threats from erosion, sedimentation and flooding to life, property, and natural and cultural resources.
BAER treatments that have been funded:
• Seed approximately 11,500 acres of high severity burn areas in the North, South, and Middle Percha drainages and in the Gallinas drainage. The seeding is intended to provide
for quick establishment of vegetative ground cover to maintain soil productivity, water quality, and reduce threats of flooding to downstream communities.
• Mulch approximately 2,900 acres of high severity burn in the historic Hillsboro Mining District to minimize negative effects to water quality from runoff and sedimentation
in this area. Mulching will also assist in seed germination and overall seeding success, while potentially minimizing negative downstream effects from mines and associated tailing piles.
• Place closure gates and post warning signs by roads, trailheads, and recreation areas to warn and protect the public from entering burned areas to prevent exposure to the hazards
of burned areas.
• Perform 8 miles of trail maintenance (install erosion barriers, remove hazard trees, improve trail treadways) on the Crest Trail #79. This maintenance will allow access for personnel
to the Hillsboro Fire Lookout Tower. Perform trail maintenance to reduce erosion and sedimentation on other trails within the area.
• Stabilize archaeological sites and historic buildings to reduce the threat of damage from storm runoff.
• Remove woody debris from stream channels along NM Highway 152 and along Forest Road #40E that runs parallel to Middle Percha Creek directly above the town of Kingston.
This is intended to prevent culverts from becoming blocked and causing additional damage to roads and recreation facilities.
• Perform road maintenance (install drain dips, remove debris and soil at culvert locations, improve drainage) along Forest Service roads in the Kingston area and Royal John Mine Road.
“With the impending onset of the monsoons, the resource specialists working on the Silver Fire BAER Team have done an incredible amount of work in a short period of time in proposing these treatments. We intend to have similar progress as we begin Phase II and assess the other areas of the fire,“ says BAER Team Leader, Mike Natharius.
KNOW BEFORE YOU GO: If you are planning to visit the Forest, Stage 1 Fire Restrictions are in effect. Additional closures remain in effect in several areas; please go to the Forest website at http://www.fs.usda.gov/gila/ for current information or contact the Forest at 575-388-8201.