Fire Damage Info Urgently Needed from Ranchers

The Forest Service Emergency Burned Area Response (BAER) Team for the Bighorn Fire needs immediate damage assessments from impacted ranchers. They are asking the Natural Resource Conservation Districts (NRCDs) to collect this information from the affected ranchers.





If your ranch has been impacted by the Bighorn Fire, please contact Deborrah Smith immediately with your damage information. 

Deborrah, a contractor for the Arizona Association of Conservation Districts, is our central point of contact to communicate this vitally important information from the ranchers and landowners to the agencies responding to the fire damage.

Contact Deborrah Smith at (830) 719-5372 or email her at

The BAER Team is tasked with preserving life and safety from anticipated flooding due to the Bighorn Fire. They need information from ranchers because the ranchers are intimately familiar with the land, the damage and the potential threats to life and safety downstream.

In addition, the NRCS might be able to obtain emergency wildfire relief funds to replace burned out practices (infrastructure) originally funded through EQIP. They need to act immediately (by MONDAY MORNING) to obtain the 2020 funding that remains available. Arizona NRCS State Conservationist Keisha Tatum needs this information to make a special funding request that must be approved in Washington, D.C. Time is running out on currently available funds, so this request will go to her superiors on Monday, July 6.



Federal and County government agencies are working through the local Natural Resource Conservation Districts to obtain this vital information.


  • Identify priority areas that pose risks to life,  property and resources susceptible to post-fire flooding  and debris flow. The agencies need ranchers to provide maps showing what is needed  to address  these issues, and where. 
  • Important roads on the ranch should be identified for repair and protection from post fire runoff and erosion.  Road culverts may need to be removed or enlarged to handle excess flows. Other road improvements may be needed to protect the most important roads from post fire runoff and erosion.
  • Emergency spillways on ponds should be evaluated to determine if spillway repair, hardening, or enlargement is needed to handle excess runoff after the fire.  Cleaning out ponds before the rain starts may also be needed. The goal is to reduce the risk of dam failures, and loss of the pond. Planning for cleanouts and spillway maintenance for a couple of years should be considered.
  • At-risk areas above homes, water supplies, utilities, etc will be the priority for seeding and other stabilization measures. Identify the most critical areas for reseeding with native species and sterile small grains for short term cover. Straw mulching, hydroseeding, runoff and erosion control structures such as waddles, straw bales, sandbags, K-Rails should also be considered.
  • The ranchers and other landowners will need to help continue to identify and evaluate the runoff and flooding risks and damage following the fire for a couple of years, where it is posing a risk to life and property, including critical ranch infrastructure. 
  • All existing range vegetation monitoring key areas should be visited as soon as possible after the fire, and at least photos should be taken if the key area was impacted by the fire. Those areas that were impacted by the fire should be prioritized for a post fire reading in the fall, or whatever month they are normally read.

Take note that this is so important that agents from US Forest Service, NRCS, and Pima County Flood Control all participated in a teleconference meeting with the Redington and Winkelman Natural Resource Conservation Districts (NRCDs) from 6-8  pm on Friday, July 3–on a national holiday and after hours– to request this vital emergency information. That’s because lives and property are at extreme risk.

Below are links to the latest  BAER reports from Coronado National Forest. Keep checking back, as this page will be updated.

2020-07-03 – BAER Update

2020-07-03-BAER RunOFF Map


Last update: July 4, 2020 1:42 PM MST