Forest restoration begins in Mayer after flash floods, fire ravage community

Forestry are working to reseed acreage to restore vegetation which could help minimize the impact of flood damage.

Flooding followed fire. A central Arizona town is working to recover.

The Prescott National Forest Burned Area Emergency Response team dropped straw and grass seed on charred hillsides near Mayer, Arizona, over the past week. 

Aerial seeding began on Monday, August 14 and David Moore, a soil scientist with the Prescott National Forest, says that the project is expected to be completed by the end of this weekend. 

BAER did a critical analysis of the area burned by the Goodwin Fire and decided to treat about 2,000 acres. 

The Goodwin Fire started June 24, and was 100 percent contained by July 10. About 28,500 acres burned. The fire was 14 miles south of Prescott.

After the Goodwin Fire ended, responders had seven days from when the fire was contained to complete a BAER report. The report looks at all the different assets and resources that could be impacted by damages from the fire.

When land is burned and wiped of vegetation, rainfall can be repelled from areas where it was once absorbed. In a burn scar, it takes mush less rainfall to create flash flooding.

The treated areas were chosen because of their potential threats to human life, safety, property and because of possible threats to natural resources.

“We aren’t able to treat the whole fire. We really identified the areas with the deepest soils that we feel are going to be most critical," said Moore. 

The forest service is teaming up with Yavapai County Flood Control District to pay and organize the treatment.

Approximately 2,105 tons of straw and 27,365 pounds of grass seed will be dropped on the area over the course of the week. 

According to Moore, the grass seed used is certified weed-free and is made up of annual grass that can grow in just a few days with the right amount of moisture. 

"There’s still going to be some flash floods, there’s still going to be impacts but we are trying to minimize those impacts," said Moore. 

Residents should not expect these treatments to completely eliminate flooding and debris flow but officials say they are hopeful it will help with damages. 

"By being able to hold that water (the soil) that means its not all going into that wash immediately and hopefully we can slow down some of the flooding," said Moore. 

© 2017 KPNX-TV


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