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The 2010 Schultz Fire

Location of the Schultz Wildfire (orange outline).
Location of the Schultz Wildfire (orange outline).
The summer of 2010 brought wildfires and near record monsoon rains to the San Francisco Peaks near Flagstaff, Arizona. The human-caused Schultz Fire on the Coconino National Forest northeast of Flagstaff was the largest wildfire in Arizona during 2010. It was ignited by an abandoned campfire on June 20th. High winds quickly drove the fire across the steep eastern slopes of the San Francisco Peaks, burning a total of 15,075 acres in 10 days.

Following the fire, heavy rains from the 4th wettest monsoon on record in Flagstaff resulted in numerous debris flows, significant erosion, and substantial flooding of the residential areas below. While debris flows were confined to the forest upslope of residential neighborhoods, multiple sediment and ash-laden floods caused extensive damage to homes, property, and infrastructure up to four miles from the burn.

In early August of 2010, geoscientists with the Arizona Geological Survey joined researchers from the Rocky Mountain Research Station's Southwest Watershed Science Team to document and quantify the effects of fire on geomorphic and watershed processes following the Schultz Fire. The goals were to provide land managers and government agencies with the tools necessary for assessing and effectively mitigating post-fire geologic hazards, potential impacts to long-term water quality and supply, and threats to infrastructure, human life, and property, as well as to understand local landscape evolution processes.

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Go to the Southwest Watershed Science Team home page.