BAER Implementation Update - 8-16-11
Incident: Las Conchas Burned Area Emergency Respon Burned Area Emergency Rehabilitation
Santa Fe National Forest
Las Conchas Fire
Burned Area Emergency Response (BAER) Implementation
-BAER Treatment Information-
Tuesday, August 16, 2011
Private property owners in Peralta Canyon and Canon del Norte, and on Cochiti Mesa are allowed to return to their property. A non-transferable pass is required and only the property owners mentioned above will have access. A Closure Order remains in effect for the Las Conchas Fire area to ensure public safety.
Great progress has been made on Federal lands within the Las Conchas Fire area as part of the Burned Area Emergency Response (BAER). All BAER projects and treatments are intended to reduce the impacts of monsoonal rainfall on lands and private property downstream from the burned landscape.
Application of grass seed on 5,200 acres of Santa Fe National Forest lands within the fire area was completed on August 7, 2011. The seed was applied by fixed wing aircraft at a rate of approximately 33 lbs. per acre. The grass seed has already begun to grow in many areas and it will serve to stabilize the soil, slow runoff and return vegetation to the fire area.
Weed-free straw mulch is now being spread on 1,100 acres of National Forest lands that have been treated with grass seed. The straw mulch is being applied at a rate of one ton per acre using helicopters equipped with large nets. The straw mulch will protect the seed and encourage germination, as well as slow runoff and reduce erosion. The aerial straw mulching operation began on August 12th and will take approximately two weeks, weather permitting.
Approximately 127 cultural sites have been identified and treated by a team of archaeologists to preserve and protect these sites that were affected by the Las Conchas fire. Grass seed and straw mulch were spread by hand on 52 of these sites. The remaining 65 sites are located in the wilderness area so grass seed mixture was applied by fixed wing aircraft during the large-scale seeding application, and no straw mulch will be applied.
Road improvements have been completed on over 20 miles of Forest roads within the burn area. Work on these roads includes insloping and outsloping to handle increased runoff; water bars; cleaning, reinforcing and replacing culverts; and improving the surface on dirt and gravel roads. Signs that were burned during the fire are being replaced. Warning signs for flooding and other dangers in the fire area will continue to be placed along Forest roads within the Las Conchas burn area.
Log erosion control structures have been built in drainages to catch rocks, limbs and other debris, and to slow the runoff during the rains. These structures include large debris racks and smaller log sediment traps installed in drainages to reduce the impacts of erosion and runoff of water and debris on private property and other values at risk during heavy rains.
Hazard trees have been identified along many roads within or adjacent to Federal lands, and these hazard trees are being taken down to lessen the danger of injuries and damage from the trees. However, the public should be aware that there are hazard trees still standing within the burn area and anyone traveling along roads in the fire area that are open to the public should be aware that these trees could come down at anytime, especially when the wind picks up.
CLOSURES AND RESTRICTIONS
Pursuant to 16 USC 551 and 36 CFR 261.50(a), (b), and (c), and 261.52(e), and effective July 20, 2011, a Closure Order remains in effect on the following restricted areas to provide for the public's health and safety and to protect National Forest System lands, resources and facilities during the current period of fire rehabilitation activities:
1) All National Forest System (NFS) lands north of Jemez Indian Reservation and north and east of Forest Road (FR) 266 to the intersection with FR10.
2) Heading north on FR10, any NFS lands east of FR10 to the intersection with NM Highway 4.
3) East on NM Highway 4, any NFS lands south of NM Highway 4 to the Las Conchas Trailhead.
4) Following a line directly north to the boundary with the Valles Caldera National Preserve and east to the longitude line 106ï¿½30'00" (as shown on the SFNF visitor map) and north through the Valles Caldera land, all NFS lands south and east to the Bandelier National Monument boundary.
5) The north side of the Valles Caldera National Preserve from the Cerro de Garita gate directly north to FR144, northeast to FR449 and northeast to FR27, all lands south and east.
6) FR27 north and east to Abiquiu Land Grant, all NFS lands south and east to the intersection of the Abiquiu Land Grant and FR 31.
7) FR31 to the south, all NFS land s south and west to the intersection with FR144.
8) FR144 east, all NFS lands south to the boundary with Santa Clara Indian Reservation.
9) All NFS lands within Los Alamos County and Sandoval County north of Highway 4 and west of Highway 501.
Exemptions include persons with a Forest Service permit or letter specifically authorizing the prohibited act or omission; and, any Federal, State or Local Officer or member of an organized firefighting force in the performance of an official duty.
The following Trails are also exempted from the above Closure:
1) TR 287 - Quemazon Trail to Pipeline Road to trail intersection with Los Alamos
2) TR 290 - Perimeter Trail from Quemazon Trail north around Los Alamos
3) TR 69 - Mitchell Trail to Guaje Ridge Trail
4) TR 285 - Guaje Ridge Trail easwt from the intersection of Mitchell Trail
5) All trails east of Mitchell Trail and south of Guaje Ridge Trail
6) TR 279 - Cabra Loop Trails
7) TR 286 - Pajarito Trail to the south rim of Guaje Canyon
8) TR 297 - Rendija Canyon Trail
9) FR 442 - South rim of Guaje Canyon to Cabra Loop trails
10) FR 144
A partial lifting of fire restrictions went into effect July 30 for the Santa Fe National Forest and the Valles Caldera National Preserve. However, the Las Conchas Fire burned area is closed to public access. Santa Fe National Forest officials are evaluating forest roads within the burned area to determine which roads may be reopened. For additional information about closures, visit the Santa Fe National Forest website at: http://www.fs.fed.us/r3/sfe/; or contact the Valles Caldera National Preserve at: http://www.vallescaldera.gov/comevisit/.
The Bandelier National Monument has reopened, although the visitor center remains closed. Most fire restrictions have been lifted and campfires are allowed at Juniper Campground. For additional information, visit: https://inciweb.nwcg.gov/Users/Dan/Documents/www.nps.gov/band.
Additional BAER implementation treatment information is available on Inciweb at: http://www.inciweb.org/incident/2406/.