Forest Service considering dozens of post-wildfire flood mitigation projects near Flagstaff
Coconino National Forest officials are evaluating several proposals to mitigate post-wildfire flooding in and near Flagstaff. It follows this summer’s Pipeline and Tunnel fires that devastated watersheds on the San Francisco Peaks and now pose major threats to many residents.
Coconino County officials have requested an array of projects including the construction of log and boulder structures designed to limit erosion and stabilize burned drainages. They hope it’ll channel storm flows away from neighborhoods.
Coconino National Forest officials say they plan to authorize dozens of these features in burn scars northeast of Flagstaff and in the Schultz Creek drainage. Some of the areas were approved for similar work following the 2010 Schultz Fire, but much of it first has to undergo federal environmental review.
Public comment is open until Oct. 7 via email at email@example.com or via mail at Attn: Mike Dechter, Coconino National Forest, 1824 S. Thompson St. Flagstaff, AZ 86001.
Over the summer monsoon rains caused 40 major flood events triggering more than 150 flash flood warnings. Rushing water and sediment that originated from the new burn scars on the San Francisco Peaks impacted more than 1,500 homes, with total damages estimated at $1.3 billion.
Arizona U.S. Senators Kyrsten Sinema and Mark Kelly along with Rep. Tom O’Halleran have asked Congress for nearly $35 million in emergency funds for on-forest watershed rehabilitation to mitigate the flooding.