Globe — After being the cause of much stress and consternation in the local area for the past few weeks, the Pinal Fire is now under control. According to the final update provided by the Forest Service on Thursday evening, the fire was 7,193 acres and was 82 percent contained.
On Friday, command of the fire was transferred from a Type 1 Southwest Area Incident Management Team to a local Type 3 team. Although the initial threat of the Pinal Fire has passed, post-fire conditions are being assessed to recommend preventive treatments and emergency stabilization for fire related problems such as soil erosion from loss of vegetation; flooding from increased runoff; and increased sedimentation downstream which could have the potential to impact private property and public safety.
This assessment is called a Burned Area Emergency Response (BAER). A BAER Team is currently gathering information to evaluate potential threats to public safety, life, and property associated with post fire conditions. Beginning with the development of a burn severity map, the Team will make recommendations to determine critical values and threats, propose specific mitigations measures regarding these threats, and develop funding requests to accomplish the needed tasks.
It is important that this process happen quickly due to the pending onset of monsoonal thunderstorms. The BAER Team is evaluating areas where vegetation has been removed to determine effective mitigation measures.
These measures may include seeding ground covers to help stabilize soils, and clearing debris from stream channels to enhance water flow capabilities. The conditions of road culverts are also being assessed to assure that they are clear and can accommodate increased flows.