The closure enacted for the areas impacted by Superstition Fire has been canceled, effective today, Oct. 6th. The reason:
“Following the fire, a Burned Area Emergency Response (BAER) team conducted assessments to identify impacts from the fire and recommend actions for mitigation and management of the burned area on the Superstition Mountains.
The Forest Service BAER program provides guidance in the aftermath of a catastrophic wildfire with the goal of safeguarding forest visitors and employees, and protecting Federal property, water quality, and critical natural or cultural resources from further damage after the fire has been extinguished.
“The BAER final report found that within the fire perimeter, 90 percent was classified as being either unburned or as having low soil burn severity,” said Mesa District Ranger Matt Lane, of the Tonto National Forest. “The majority of the burned area exhibited low soil burn severity and hydrologic modeling predicted relatively low increases in peak flow discharges, which was one of many factors we used as the basis for recommending rescinding the area closure.”
The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) debris-flow analysis identified the primary streams to collect data from as Boulder Creek and La Barge Creek. In their report, they estimated relatively low to moderate level of debris-flow hazard within the burned area. The moderate hazard areas are situated in the Old West Boulder Canyon and in the very southeastern portion of the burn area. Visitors should exercise caution when recreating in the area.
The BAER final report recommended emergency response actions that include the installation of warning signs at Canyon Lake, Crosscut and First Water Trailheads, Forest Service Roads 78 and 1455, and at a few interior trail intersections. In the interim, temporary warning signs will be installed but replaced by permanent signs and the forest will continue to work with USGS and the National Weather Service on evaluating the need for additional warning measures. Future funding includes emergency detection and rapid response for invasive weeds.
With monsoon season over, the BAER team determined the likelihood of a storm is low for the immediate future. This gives the forest time to implement emergency response actions prior to a rain event.”