THOMPSON RIDGE BAER UPDATE
Wednesday July 31, 2013
Jemez Springs, NM –The Thompson Ridge Fire burned 23,965 acres near and within the Valles Caldera National Preserve recreation and resource areas. The fire was human-caused on May 31 when a downed electrical line, ignited ground cover and spread into the adjacent forest of mixed conifer and ponderosa. To date, approximately $271,000 has been allocated to reduce the threat and severity of post-fire floods that are projected to occur for several years, especially during monsoon seasons.
BAER Treatments Completed
Cutting and removing burned trees near roads and buildings was a priority as they present an immediate threat to human life and structures. A sawyer crew from Bandelier National Monument felled six trees along Forest Road 105, which accesses a residential area. The crew also downed ten trees which threatened historic cabins in the Valles Caldera. These trees were then anchored into place to serve as barriers to help redirect flood waters and debris away from the cabins. Branches and logs not used as barriers were removed from the site since loose debris, carried by flood waters could cause significant damage.
Sand bag deployment by the Santa Fe County Black Canyon hand crew and a Las Vegas Type II hand crew adds another level of protection to the historic structures. Crews stacked a 6 foot wide by 3 foot high wall behind the Bond Cabin. The sand bag wall slows the residual flow that leaks through the trees, log barriers and organic top layer and redirects it away from the cabin. While some water will reach the building it is not expected to be a significant enough quantity to cause irreparable damage. Crews are deploying sand bags around the remaining historic structures this week.
Debris removal from creeks, streams, roads and arroyos is ongoing. The waterways will be monitored to ensure free flow of water during the monsoons which will likely deposit more debris into the channels. Debris trapped in channels eventually breaks loose, resulting in even greater damage from flooding.
Future On-the-Ground Action
Salmon River Helicopters of Riggins, Idaho is tentatively scheduled to begin aerial rehabilitation operations. The helicopters will load from a yet to be determined site (weather permitting) and drop seed over specified areas above homes in the Sulphur Creek area. The seed is an annual barley plant that will germinate quickly in the warm, wet conditions. It establishes and grows rapidly, but does not germinate or resprout. Native vegetation with eventually take over.
Construction and improvement of water control features on roads and trails will supplement sand bagging and barriers already in place. Installation of drainage dips, low water crossings and deployment of Jersey barriers are part of the BAER operations. Identification and protection of cultural resource sites will continue.
The Forest Service has responsibility for wildland fire suppression and rehabilitation on the Valles Caldera National Preserve; all contract solicitation and award is being managed by the Forest Service. BAER interagency cooperators, stakeholders, and tribal government representatives are coordinating their post-fire response efforts.
|Incident Type||Burned Area Emergency Response|