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forest fire aftermath in a hilly community

 
mary page
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A small town in Arizona nestled in a rocky hillside setting has recently been devastated by a forest fire. The ground is as though it had been clay baked in a kiln. The people are expecting great run off and flooding. Does anyone have any ideas for an instant stop gap for the erosion and further destruction that could happen? My friend who lives there says everyone is busily filling sandbags and TRYING TO GET RID OF THE BURNT WOOD! Oh gosh, if only they could make strategically placed and copious amounts of hugulkulturs....right now.
 
Alder Burns
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Seems like that burnt wood is a resource for jumpstarting new growth on that landscape.....it is practically biochar and will be slow to break down. Seems like a combination of swales plus hugels in the berms below the swales will be a good stopgap against erosion and runoff control, and will sequester the slash away from future fires. Even windrowing the slash more or less on contour would be better than nothing or removing it altogether....rain runoff will pile stuff and soil into the windrows and they will begin to act like swales.... Where slopes aren't to steep, one might consider a keyline plow if it's accessible to a tractor.
The runoff could also be turned to opportunity to fill ponds for later irrigation...
 
mary page
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Thank you, Alder, for your answer. I sent it on to my friend in Yarnell. I wanted someone other than me to plant a seed of hugulkultur or something along that line to help them see a different way of salvaging their land and shoring it up for what could come next. I hope that they will consider it. thank you very much.
 
mary page
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Dea alder,

to my friend's credit, she spoke up at a town meeting and said that she thought hugulkultur could help the erosion that they are expecting. it took all her courage to do that. the smart man who was determining good ideas and bad ideas said that if they put the wood on top of the dirt the baked dirt would erode anyway and the wood would follow gravity down. I said that of course would happen but if they were able to dig in the clay and make ditches for the wood to be tucked into it would be less of a problem.

I think the timing of this disaster with no knowledge of hugulkultur previous will mean that it won't be used as a solution at this time.

 
Alder Burns
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The way to proceed slowly is to demonstrate. Does your friend have access to a small portion of the degraded land that she can work with herself, and with whatever friends, help, etc. that she can gather aside from officialdom? Perhaps host a blitz workshop with someone experienced with swales, hugels, keyline and other land restoration practices? Then by the time a year or two and several heavy rains go by the differences should be obvious and she can simply point out this place as an example to all and sundry.....
 
mary page
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That is an excellent idea.

Would you suggest an online search for such a knowledgeable person in Arizona? I have not encountered anyone else (of course I don't know that many people) that is as enthusiastic or knowledgeable or even that knew about it. I suppose a few youtube videos later anyone could be an expert. Right?
 
Miles Flansburg
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Mary, here are some threads from folks in Arizona. Maybe someone there could help out?

http://www.permies.com/forums/jforum?module=search&action=search&forum=38&match_type=all&sort_by=time&search_keywords=arizona
 
Mark Vander Meer
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I've been working on post-burn rehab for 20 years+. Leave the burned wood on the surface. Burn + physical disturbance = decreased bio-physical resiliency.
 
mary page
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Dear Mark,

Thank you for responding to my question. I appreciate your succinct answer. I wonder if you would be able to counsel my friends on how to reclaim their portion of the earth and inspire/guide their neighbors to a healthier long lasting way to approach their own reclamations.

thank you, mary page
 
Mark Vander Meer
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Yes, I can do that, off forum. Email: mark@watershedconsulting.com
 
I agree. Here's the link: https://richsoil.com/wood-heat.jsp
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