Post-Fire Mitigation Field Day Upper Mora Valley

posted in: Champions, Field Days | 1
Unburned, lightly burned and heavily burned habitats can be seen above La Sierra Farm. Image by Charles Curtin

The Hermits Peak/Calf Canyon Fire was the largest fire in New Mexico’s recorded history, burning over 340,000 acres North of Las Vegas, New Mexico, since April 6, 2022. An early onset of monsoon rains has slowed the fires’ progress but now the danger of flooding looms large. Local communities are in need of practical information about what can be done in the near term to mitigate soil erosion and run-off.

Join us for a Post-Fire Mitigation Field Day in the Upper Mora Valley

When: Saturday July 16, 2022 10am – 2pm

Where: We’ll meet at La Sierra Farm in Cañoncito Canyon (1 mile from 518 near Cleveland) to take a 2 hour walking tour with local Soil Health Champion and landscape ecologist Charles Curtin and High Watermark LLC. Within a short walking distance, we’ll tour features that are common to the area, ranging from fertile bottom lands in the floodplain of Cañoncito Creek to a terrace just above to a steep, forested hillside and unburned, lightly burned and heavily burned habitats.

What: The effects of fire on soils and ecology are site-specific, but by focusing on an area that is fairly representable and translatable to others, we will demonstrate a range of vegetation and burn-intensity patterns in the post-fire landscape. We’ll prepare some examples of simple ways to slow erosion and run-off that community members can use on their own property.

  1. We’ll start our walk in the floodplain, look at a beginning head cut and talk about the danger of erosion washing into the acequia.
  2. Next we’ll walk up to the terrace and headwall to show mineralized and hydrophobic soils vs. intact soil and discuss how to read the land after fire.
  3. As we enter a more steep burned area, we’ll have the opportunity to see different fire behavior in a thinned forest that was mostly spared vs. an area that was not thinned. We’ll demonstrate various techniques to slow erosion and run-off.
  4. From a higher vantage point, we’ll be able to see the mosaic of burn patches that are more or less severe.

After our walk, we’ll gather in the shade under trees and share a delicious local lunch from Teresa’s Tamales. In an open dialogue, participants will have the opportunity to exchange experiences and talk about their own land if they wish. High Watermark staff will be on hand to answer questions and offer advice. We ask for submission of photos and/or maps in advance if possible.

This event is hosted in partnership among Mora County Extension, NM Healthy Soil Working Group and the Seeding Regenerative Agriculture Project.

Looking towards the Sangre de Cristo mountains across a mosaic of burn patches that are more or less severe. Image by Charles Curtin.

Helpful Post-Fire resources:

Disaster Recovery –Lots of resources for affected farms and communities by Community Alliance for Family Farmers, includes An Overview of Fire Effects on Soils and After the Fires: Hydrophobic Soils.

After Wildfire – A Guide for New Mexico Communities by NM State Forestry and Contributors

Wildfire Restoration Handbook –a collaboration of the Coalition for the Upper South Platte, Volunteers for Outdoor Colorado, and the Rocky Mountain Field Institute.

After The Fire – Compendium of post- fire related resources by Coalitions & Collaboratives (COCO)

  1. Charles k Kuchta

    I am very interesed in what we see.

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